Fall high school sports get go-ahead from AIA

MHS swim team is back in the water.


Arizona Interscholastic Association is letting its fall sports season move forward as planned.

The executive board met Wednesday to endorse the latest guidelines from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. In a news release, the board said it felt competitive sports and activities at the member schools “can be successful within recommended guidelines.”

For member schools like Maricopa Unified School District, the golf season has already begun. Swimming, cross country and volleyball have started practice. Football teams will be allowed to practice starting Labor Day. Sequoia Pathway also plays AIA volleyball and football this fall.

Maricopa High School swim coach Laura Logan said she had tryouts Aug. 24-26.

“Practices will be limited to 50 people in order to remain compliant with the Governor’s [Executive] Order prohibiting organized events of more than 50 people,” Logan said. “Our meet schedule has not yet been determined as we expect AIA to make changes due to the delayed start date.”

All coaches must wear face coverings. Swimmers must wear face coverings when entering and exiting the facility. All coaches and athletes will have temperature screenings when arriving at practice.

“We will conduct practices that allow swimmers in lanes to social distance,” Logan said. “Swimmers will have to bring their own water and wear suits to and from the pool because locker rooms will not be used.”

The MHS swim team has its home meets at Copper Sky Aquatic Center. There will be no spectators. Attendance will be limited to coaches, athletes and some volunteers.

Qualifications to advance to the postseason in each fall sport have been modified, according to AIA. Those qualifications are currently being reviewed and will appear on the tournament pages on AZPreps365.com when ready, along with season dates and team schedules.

AIA stated, “The allowance of fans into contests will be a local decision. Locales across the state will be in different timelines of their own phase-in plans. School administrators will always have the most recent information to use for their own situations.”

Last week, MHS football team members were quarantined after a player tested positive for COVID-19, according to MUSD.

“I would like to say on behalf of the staff and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, especially for the sport of football, we would not have been able to make this decision until this time right now based on the metrics,” said AIA Executive Director David Hines. “So, the metrics have gotten to a place that we can start football practice. That we can start the heat acclimatization (guidelines). That we can get kids in a helmet and shoulder pads and begin doing work.”

In a previous Executive Board decision, the winter sports season will begin one week later to accommodate the fall season being extended. At this time, championships in winter sports are scheduled to conclude as planned.