|Changes by the AIA on the horizon|
|Written by Brian Bergner Jr.|
|Friday, 06 April 2012 00:00|
More changes by the Arizona Interscholastic Association may be on the horizon. Presented at the AIA Executive Board meeting March 19, three major issues were discussed and will be voted on for change by September.
One involves a transfer rule change. Any athlete who moves within a 50-mile radius of his or her current domicile will be automatically ineligible for a year at a new school. Currently, athletes and their families can be eligible right away if they move into a new school district.
Another issue involves a proposal of forcing private, charter and parochial schools to move up at least one classification.
The third issue involves allowing a struggling program to move down a classification after it meets specific guidelines.
On the transfer rule, I agree with the AIA and its stance. There are too many student athletes swapping schools for better programs, a decision they make solely on their chosen sport, instead of making it for academic reasons or other personal reasons. There are plenty of cases where student athletes leave a district for other issues, but they are too many that do it for the wrong reason.
For example, a young baseball player is enrolled at Mingus Union High School, and his family lives in Cottonwood. He plays for the Marauders baseball team during the 2012 season. His family decides to move to the Sedona area this summer, and the student would be looking to enroll and play baseball at Sedona Red Rock High School for the 2012-2013 calendar year.
Under the current guidelines, this would be fine. With the new proposed change, this would not be allowed.
The second proposed change, bringing private schools into the discussion and forcing each school to move up a division, isn’t something I would agree with.
A school like Scottsdale Christian High School, which is private and currently sits in Division III for a sport like basketball, or in Division V for a sport like football, would be forced to move up one division in each sport.
Most of you know I’m not a big fan of many private schools, or the fact that a basketball team like Orme High School can win a 1A conference state title in Arizona and not have one player in its starting lineup from the United States, much less Arizona, like in 2010-2011, or that many recruit and get away with it.
The fact remains, however, many private schools don’t participate in the nonsense previously mentioned, and shouldn’t be forced to move up a division.
Finally, allowing a struggling program to get some relief and move down a classification is one of the only beauties of the new alignment put into action by the AIA two years ago.
The terms of the new proposal are if a program finishes in the bottom eight in power point rankings for three consecutive years, the program could petition down a division. There is a motion to make it a two-year deal instead of three.
For those who don’t know, a football team at a certain school may be in Division IV, and the softball team could be in Division II. It all depends on how many schools play a particular sport.
A football team that struggles every season and sits in Division II could petition down to Division III if it struggles for three consecutive years, and the school would play a completely different schedule.
There are plenty of sports where this change wouldn’t matter. Playing a computer-generated schedule, a team could struggle, but then if the program decides to drop a division, the new division could be just as strong, and the program would still struggle.
I guess, in the end, this new proposed change would at least give administrators and coaches something to discuss, eventually making their decisions based on what’s good for the program.
While we’re talking about change, I wanted to let all those readers out there know a change for baseball and softball did take place last month.
From now on, a losing team down 15 runs or more can call it quits after three innings of play, instead of the normal 10-run rule that stops play after five innings are complete. A 1A conference athletic director proposed this change, and it was passed quickly.
I kind of laughed at this one when I heard about it. What did the AIA expect? With new generated schedules presented by the AIA, small schools like Mayer High School, which may have around 180 students enrolled, are forced to play Mingus, a school that has nearly 1,300 students enrolled, because of geographical closeness.
Mingus beat Mayer in a doubleheader earlier this season, 29-0 and 37-1.
Are you kidding me? How can you put even one kid through this? We constantly talk about keeping kids interested in sports and keeping them active and out of trouble. Who would want to go out for a baseball team when they know they’re going to get beat 66-1 in a doubleheader?
We’ll see where the proposed changes go. Hopefully, the right thing will be done in interest of the student athletes, not the AIA.