Football, along with every other fall sport governed by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, could very well mimic the high schools that played in them.
For example, current plans are for the Deer Valley Unified School District to begin in-person classes Oct. 14, the Dysart Unified School District to do the same Oct. 19 and the Peoria Unified School District to open its buildings no earlier than Sept. 8.
Meanwhile, high school football teams are as of now allowed to start practice Aug. 17, and many have indicated they will. But Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix and Fountain Hills High School already announced they will ramp up no earlier than Sept. 8.
The Amphitheater Unified School District in Tucson will not start earlier than Sept. 7 and several other Southern Arizona districts are considering similar measures.
In a video produced by the AIA July 30, Executive Director David Hines stated that fall sports schedules could be as uneven as school and practice start times. He said the idea is, when the governor allows in-person instruction, schools could return to athletic competition if they choose.
The AIA is finishing a survey of athletic directors on July 31. Hines also said the start date now in place is a target date, not the official in-stone start date.
We have dates so that people can at least have some targets to look at. Those dates can, and probably will, change. We need to be prepared for that,” Hines said.
“We’ve found we need to be flexible, to monitor the situation and adjust whenever we can and should. Again the idea is to allow these kids the opportunity to participate in athletics to some degree this year.”
Hines said in the video that current fall sports schedules, like everything else, are a moving target. The AIA cannot really modify the slates until a firm start date is established. Sports with less danger of transmission - then golf, cross county and swimming could start the earliest, then the AIA could phase in badminton and girls volleyball then finally, football.
Hines also stated that even if schedules are shortened, transfers from one AIA school to another still would miss 50% of the scheduled regular season power ranking games. Teams also could choose to start their seasons later, even if that means they do not play the minimum amount of games to qualify for the playoffs. Hines said additional non-playoff games could be set up during the early weeks of the postseason for these teams.
If a school chooses that they would like to participate in fall activities but they prefer to wait another week or two or three, we will work to accommodate that school. And maybe an area of schools or group of schools that are in that same boat, to be able to schedule games so they could help get some competition. There are a minimum number of games that would need to be played to qualify for state tournament play,” Hines said in the video.
Centennial coach Richard Taylor remains confident football will be played at some point in this academic year. But he is concerned at the many different directions schools are approaching potential start dates with.