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AIA releases preliminary plans for fall sports to finish on time
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

AIA releases preliminary plans for fall sports to finish on time

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Taking The Field

Members of the Coconino High School marching band watch as the football team takes the field for a game against Carl Hayden at Cromer Stadium last season.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced preliminary plans for the fall sports season in a press release Friday afternoon.

Nothing is finalized yet due to the ongoing changes from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the AIA has a working idea of what a fall sports season could look like with the assumption that schools start Aug. 17.

The AIA proposed the football season -- for 2A through 6A conferences -- should start on Sept. 7, pushing the season almost three weeks back. Flagstaff High School was set to open Aug. 21 against Peoria and Coconino was set to start the next week against Cactus.

The move to delay the season could help salvage an eight- to 10-game season, the AIA stated in the press release. The 1A Conference is still being figured out. The playoff format for football may need to be altered as well under the proposed plan.

The rest of the fall sports calendar is as follows under the plan: golf would start Aug. 24, badminton Aug. 31 and the rest of the fall sports would begin Sept. 7. There is a chance the schedules will be altered to allow a full season to happen.

The AIA also noted that even if some schools elect to start online prior to Aug. 17, that athletics would not be permitted to begin full practices until that date hits.

Of course, the plans aren't set in stone, as the AIA can't predict if conditions a month from now will allow for high school sports. New Mexico and Utah, neighboring states to Arizona, each made decisions this week about high school fall athletics. New Mexico elected to cancel the fall season, while Utah will try to compete in the fall.

Also this week, Alchesay -- located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation -- announced it will not compete in the fall sports season. The AIA stated it will respect schools who choose to sit out the fall, and would work with others to fill vacancies in schedules.

The AIA also pushed back the deadline for hardship appeals two weeks to give schools more time to process transfer students.

Lance Hartzler can be reached at 556-2251 or at lhartzler@azdailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @lance_hartz.

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