The Arizona Interscholastic Association has yet to post new fall sports schedules on their AzPreps365 website as of Aug. 30, but they have restructured regions, consolidating some regions and adding teams to others. The Parker Broncs’ football region has not been affected, but the volleyball team’s region has seen some new teams added.
The football team is in the 2A Agua Fria region for 2020. Their region rivals include the Glendale Prep Griffins, the Kingman Academy Tigers, the St. John Paul II Lions, the Tonopah Valley Phoenix and the Trivium Prep Crimson Knights.
The volleyball team will play in the 3A West for 2020. One of the teams in the region, the Odyssey Institute Minotaurs of Buckeye, became the first school in metro Phoenix to cancel fall sports. Since then, the AIA has added the Bourgade Catholic Golden Eagles and the Wickenburg Wranglers to the region. The remaining region rivals are the Kingman Bulldogs, the Tonopah Valley Phoenix and the Yuma Catholic Shamrocks.
This comes as more school districts in Arizona have announced they are canceling fall sports completely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Phoenix Union High School District canceled fall sports Aug. 14, becoming the largest district in the state to do so. They’ve also cancelled all extracurricular activities. The district has 27,000 students and employs almost 2,800 people.
The district’s superintendent, Dr. Chad Gestson, said the decision was made to cancel sports and extracurriculars until it became safer to hold them. He noted the benchmark from the Arizona Department of Health Services for returning to school for in-person classes is for a coronavirus testing rate of 5 percent. For Central Phoenix, he said the positivity rate was 15 percent, three times higher than the ADHS benchmark.
There are 12 high schools that are affected by the decision: Alhambra, Phoenix Bioscience, Trevor Browne, Camelback, Phoenix Central, Cesar Chavez, Betty Fairfax, Carl Hayden, Maryvale, North, South Mountain and Metro Tech.
The three state universities, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, will not be having fall sports as their NCAA conferences, the Pac-12 and the Big Sky Conference, have cancelled them.
The following is a list of Arizona schools that have cancelled fall sports, not including the Phoenix Unified district. Azcentral.com noted 21 of these schools are on Native American reservations, while another, Page, has a majority of students from the Navajo Nation. The Navajos were hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the list as of Aug. 30, according to azcentral.com:
Tucson Arizona School for Deaf/Blind
Tuba City Greyhills Academy
Keams Canyon Hopi
Kayenta Monument Valley
Buckeye Odyssey Institute
Winterhaven (Calif.) San Pasqual
Fort Defiance Window Rock
Tohono O’odham (all sports 2020-21)
Seth Polansky, a spokesperson for the AIA, said the organization is still reviewing the latest recommendations from their Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. He said the AIA Executive Board will meet Sept. 2 to discuss their “modifications” for schools regarding holding sporting events.
“The AIA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee met to present its latest recommendations regarding the return to sports and activity,” Polansky wrote in an e-mail to sports media statewide. “The AIA’s Executive Board has scheduled a special meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2 to review this document and any changes that might be made prior to that meeting. As of right now, the fall season staggered start will continue on its current schedule. All member schools are encouraged to follow the most recent version of sports modifications.”