Arizona delays the start of high school sports, including football to August 17

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The Arizona Interscholastic Association is delaying the Fall sports season to August 17, following the lead of Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order for the state as cases of coronavirus have been spiking across the state.

The 2020 high school football season was scheduled to start August 20-22, but now officials will have to go back to the drawing board to see if they can adjust the schedule to salvage a Fall season.

Related: Tennessee delays start of high school football

Related: New Jersey cancels Week 0

Related: Michigan Governor asks for high school football to be moved to the Spring

Below is the story that appears on the AIA’s website:

In response to Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order for the state of Arizona, the AIA will delay the resumption of all school-related athletics and activities until Aug. 17. This will push back the starting dates of practice for all fall sports and activities, and delay the start of competition seasons.

With the new timeline in place, member school principals will not receive the surveys regarding reopening procedures as per the previous correspondence (first and third weeks of July). Instead, the AIA will continue to meet with the numerous statewide stakeholders and prepare to create alternative sports schedules. The principals will receive surveys at a later date to more closely coincide with the state’s target date of reopening schools.

“We couldn’t be more disappointed about the information that just came out regarding our schools. However, we understand that the most pressing concern is to ensure our student-athletes can return to school in the safest way possible,” Executive Director David Hines said. “We will do everything in our power to make sure that when we get back up and going again, the transition will be as seamless as possible and to create memorable interscholastic experiences. And we’ll be able to accomplish that as long as everyone does their part to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus.”

The governor’s executive action means members will continue to operate under summer rules as per AIA Bylaws and Sports Policies until schools are officially reopened.

Exact dates for the beginning of competition will not be finalized until the AIA gathers much-needed information from the schools to present to the AIA Executive Board for consideration. If revised timelines for the fall interfere with the winter sports season, those schedules will also be addressed at a later date. Additional information will be shared as the association navigates through these developments.

For everyone, please stay safe and vigilant in our fight against the Coronavirus. Following health department guidelines and taking proper precautions will go a long way for schools to be able to reopen.

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Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.