Arizona Interscholastic Association Votes To Reinstate High School Winter Sports Days After It Canceled Them
Winter sports for Arizona high school athletes are back on after the Arizona Interscholastic Association board voted Tuesday to overturn its decision days ago to cancel them.
The board voted Friday to cancel winter sports following a recommendation by its medical advisory committee to do in consideration of overwhelmed state hospitals. It reconsidered after hearing from parents, students and school administrators in favor of continuing sports even if the AIA does not sanction it.
“This is an opportunity for us as the AIA, as the membership to have the ability to control that environment for students with whatever parameters that this board wishes," said board member Marcus Williams. He also represents the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and serves as the Chandler Unified School District's athletic director.
“I believe and I concur that the safest place for our athletes to be involved in athletics is under the mitigation strategies that we have developed as an organization and through our medical advisory committee," said Board President Toni Corona
Winter sports will begin next Monday as previously scheduled with additional modifications. All athletes, coaches and officials must wear masks. No fans will be allowed, but each athletes will be allowed to bring up to two parents or guardians to games if state and local guidelines of host schools permit. Athletic directors may also allow media and recruiters to attend games. Violations will result in loss of access to AIA officials.
Board member Zack Muñoz, who voted against the motion, said it was unwise to ignore the medical committee's recommendation. He's also concerned by what he’s hearing from some athletic directors of teams holding practices
“They’re already seeing spikes in cases, shutting down teams. We’re not even in full swing with winter sports and they’re saying the spike is much higher and more severe than what they’ve seen in the fall," said Muñoz, who's also Phoenix Union High School District's athletic director and represents the 6A Conference.
Muñoz has heard some parents are refusing to disclose COVID cases or exposure among students to avoid team shutdowns.