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Is it possible the Arizona Interscholastic Association runs The Arizona Republic’s high school sports desk?

Obviously, this isn’t the case, but a sports fan might wonder sometimes what exactly is going on.

The Republic already favors covering Phoenix metro area sports in high school — even going as far as to report on the team that loses because it’s in the area rather than reporting on the team from a rural area that won.

This would be OK if it was called The Phoenix Republic. Or the Valley of the Sun Times, or whatever crazy name one could come up with, but the publication is in fact called The Arizona Republic.

For someone like myself who has played, written and now coached in Northern Arizona, I know the Republic does not cover our schools.

Scott Bordow, a respected sports columnist for the Republic posted a blog Sept. 26 called “Final thoughts on the AIA” which seemed to backtrack, or even apologize, in an effort to show readers the AIA people aren’t such bad guys after all.

The Republic packaged a pair of stories a few weeks before Bordow’s piece discussing executive salaries for the AIA, the new alignments and computer scheduling, state tournament venues, ticket prices for state playoff games and reduction in state tournaments. All of these are serious issues that are worth talking about and reporting on within the high school athletic ranks.

By the way, the AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer makes about $196,000 a year, or at least that’s what he made in 2009 according to Bordow’s column. Wasn’t the AIA just stating last year it needed to cut state tournaments because they cost too much? Maybe Slemmer could throw them a few bucks.

These very subjects, of course, have already been discussed by myself in this column. They are serious issues and it was good to see the Republic step up, but now it seems to be taking a step back. Playing nice is a good phrase to insert here.

Bordow decided to point out the facts from the two stories again to “add perspective” Sept. 26, then moved on quickly and mentioned the AIA does a lot of things right including centralized assignments for referees and the initiative the AIA governing body is taking on concussion awareness.

Yes, that’s all he had.

He began his column by stating, “Every so often I receive an email from a reader saying the Arizona Interscholastic Association should be abolished.”

I for one, was one of those people. Now, I didn’t exactly say to Bordow the AIA should be abolished, but I did mention he should look into the objectives of the good ol’ boys over there and see what’s underneath the hood.

We sports writers should continue to bring up the big issues and stick with our guns.

What about the smaller guys? What about a fair playing field? Are we sick of private schools coming north and blowing out teams and dominating state tournaments because they have the advantage of being able to pick and choose what kids come to their respective schools?

I’ll say it. It’s called R-E-C-R-U-I-T-I-N-G. Maybe the AIA should be putting a little more time and energy in to that mess.

There is no right answer the AIA can come up with for state tournaments, or alignments, or whatever else it has its hands into. They won’t make everyone happy. But, making most people happy is a good place to start these days. Almost everyone seems to have something to say about the new alignments or ticket prices at state contests, and it’s usually not good.{jcomments on}

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