With alignment, AIA hopes to cut costs, raise rivalries - The Explorer: Sports

With alignment, AIA hopes to cut costs, raise rivalries

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Posted: Monday, August 16, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:20 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association is making major realignment changes that may alter the landscape of high school sports in Arizona.

Beginning with the 2011-'12 school year, team sport championships are being reduced from more than 120 to 71.

"Reduced travel costs and out-of-school time will have a major impact," said AIA executive director Harold Slemmer. "With all the games and cost of revenues, we've priced ourselves out because of all the tournaments."

In football, the five divisions will decrease from seven state titles to six, one of the smaller differences. Basketball titles will be cut from seven to four.

The measures were approved in May by a unanimous vote, and Slemmer admitted they've become serious considerations due to the economy.

"There's not a lot of money to spend on travel," Slemmer said. "I think we'll save some school districts significant money."

AIA is going to use a computer block to reschedule geographically for schools close to each other.

Canyon Del Oro opens the 2010 football season at Ironwood Ridge on Friday, Aug. 27. Slemmer expects them to face each other every year from now in football, and in most sports.

"They're right next to each other in all sports," Slemmer said. "I'd like to think (the realignment) would heighten rivalries."

Changes take place in swimming and wrestling as early as the 2010-'11 school year.

Each Arizona school will be reclassified into divisions based on school size and the number of teams that participate in each sport. The smaller schools will be in Division V, while the larger ones will be Division I.

"Think about the NCAA," Slemmer said. "A school could be in Division II in basketball and Division III in swimming."

"We wanted to get a consensus and an agreement on these AIA changes. We're trying to show that it's best for the membership."

"The AIA will make it more competitive to win championships," said Bill Lang, girls volleyball coach at Ironwood Ridge. "The 5A-II watered down competition.

"There are seven titles for Arizona volleyball. Texas doesn't even have that many championships. Now we'll have five."

Current 1A schools such as Green Fields might be competing against 2A schools like Pusch Ridge that have significantly higher enrollment.

"It's going to really hurt the 1A schools," said Green Fields coach Tom Danehy.

"Immaculate Heart has about 60 (kids), while Pusch Ridge has 300 (kids). It's an insurmountable difference. Neither of these schools will want to play each other. The AIA will say you have to play."

How are the kids going to be affected?

"It'll hurt the rural kid the most," Danehy said.

Slemmer says that when people understand the process, they'll like it better.

"We've come up with a combination of things that we think will work best for everyone," Slemmer said. "The feedback has been extremely positive."

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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