The Arizona Interscholastic Association during its Executive Board meeting on Monday looked at reclassifying conferences for football once every two years.
In a recent reclassification committee meeting, Executive Director David Hines said it was recommended to go to a two-year reclass, instead of annually, which has been done since 2019, when the AIA began the Open Division state playoffs for football due to so many elite transfers going to the so-called “destination” schools.
Hines said in the meeting the push would be to begin the two-year reclassification this fall, because it would be falling on the opposite year of the traditional reclassification for all of the other sports.
Hines said that by the time everyone is done scheduling football games, “everyone is exhausted at the end of that process.”
The two years also gives the AIA’s reclassification committee more time to assess schools in football before moving them up or down.
Some schools have made meteoric moves since the annual reclassification for football with American Leadership Academy Queen Creek being the ultimate example of a school moving fast. ALA QC won the 3A title in 2019, before moving up to 4A in 2020, then 5A after that. Now the Patriots, making the Open Division in back-to-back seasons out of 4A and 5A, have been placed in 6A.
“The big concern the committee had is that 6A is shrinking and 4A and 5A are growing,” Hines said. “And 3A is dropping a little bit. And 2A was no place to go.
“Really, it’s getting back to a little more equality with the numbers within each conference.”
Hines said it’s important to slow the process of moving teams. Schools can still schedule against teams that are a conference higher.
Here are some other items on the AIA board agenda that were addressed:
2 conferences for flag football
The AIA board approved having two conferences for girls’ flag football in the fall when it becomes an AIA-sanctioned sport. There will be a Division I (or 6A), comprising of teams that have already been playing team club football in the spring; and a Division II (5A) for schools that have not had club teams in the spring. Chandler Unified School District has been at the forefront of girls’ flag football for the last couple of years. Some schools started organized flag football for the first time this year.
For subscribers:Arizona high school football: Here’s what 2023 schedules tell us about 6A issues
Heritage Academy occupies closing North Pointe Prep’s AIA status
With Phoenix North Pointe Prep closing in June, Heritage Academy was granted by the board its request to continue with the AIA membership status as it takes over operations under a new charter. Heritage won’t have to go through a new membership process, even if all students have to reapply to attend the school. Athletes, however, will be allowed to transfer without penalty under the AIA’s policy because the school is closing at no fault of the student-athletes. Student-athletes also will be allowed to transfer in without sitting out, because it will be considered a new charter school, as long as it is the start of the school year.
The Republic’s Big 150:Top college football prospects in Arizona’s 2024 high school class
Queen Creek boys basketball and Gilbert Christian football were given warnings for alleged recruiting violations that were self-reported after the corrective actions taken by the schools.
Warnings are for one year. If another violation occurs during that time, the school could be placed on probation, keeping the teams from participating in the playoffs.
Queen Creek’s corrective action was that all coaches in the athletic department will receive training in regards to the AIA’s recruitment rule, after a coach working with a club team last summer corresponded with a non-Queen Creek student-athlete during the summer. The student did not transfer to Queen Creek, after the message, according to the report the AIA received, and the school that the athlete was attending was contacted to be made aware of the interaction.
Gilbert Christian self-reported a violation that happened in December, stating that the former head football coach “allegedly used a student’s phone and Twitter to DM a current player at Scottsdale Christian.”
“We do not have a screenshot but it is confirmed that a message was sent from the student’s account,” the report to the AIA says. “… As a school we are not focused on the how, but rather being fully transparent that something clearly did happen and this is the information we have.”
The school’s corrective action was that the athletic department will increase education, monitor awareness of its coaches and bylaw compliance in all of the programs, specifically football.
“While we do not have any way to internally penalize our former coach, we will be proactive about preventing thisscenario in the future and will be especially sensitive to the role that social media plays in compliance.”
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