PHOENIX — The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced Thursday it is pushing back the start of the winter sports season in high school athletics to Jan. 5.
The AIA oversees high school sports and activities.
The last permissible day of competition for winter sports will be Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, which includes any play-in competitions, the AIA says.
Schools must have a minimum of 14 days of practice before any competition can begin.
The AIA says the start of the competition season depends on multiple factors and listed those on Thursday:
- If a student-athlete participates with a non-school team/group, that student-athlete is excluded from practice and competition with the school team for 14 days since the last practice or competition of the non-school team/group.
- All winter sports modifications are required.
- No fans will be permitted until metrics are appropriate. AIA staff will be communicating with schools and districts statewide to evaluate readiness on a regular basis.
- No scrimmages, invitational tournaments or region tournaments will be allowed.
- No out-of-state competitions will be allowed.
“We feel that the students are safer within the school environment than not to be in school at all,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a release.
“Delaying the start of the season will give our coaches and administrators time to implement safety protocols and put sports modifications in place. Just like getting fall sports off the ground, doing things the right way will allow for our sports to continue."
"The Executive Board felt it was necessary to fight for these students to have a chance. They see the need in the schools they are representing,” Hines added.
The first date of permissible practice for spring sports has been officially pushed back one week from Feb. 8, 2021 to Feb. 15, 2021.
High school football resumed in late September after the AIA approved updated recommendations from its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
The potential hold on winter sports comes as confirmed coronavirus cases reached 276,912 and 6,302 coronavirus related deaths were reported as of Monday this week.
Arizona's Rt, pronounced r-naught, was at 1.14 on Saturday.
The Rt is essentially a mathematical number that shows whether more people are becoming infected or less.
The concern is that any Rt over 1, no matter how small, means the virus may grow exponentially.