Arizona Interscholastic Association

Scenes like this could be back soon, as the Arizona Interscholastic Association gave approval for football and other fall sports to begin. The executive committee accepted the updated Sports Medicine Advisory Committee’s return-to-play guidelines.

High school football is back.

The Executive Board of the Arizona Interscholastic Association voted recently to endorse the latest guidelines proposed by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for the safe implementation of a return to sport and activity.

Football, as well as other fall sports, will continue as scheduled.

Football can begin practice, and games can start Sept. 30.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has put the sports community in disarray. Professional leagues have had to adjust their schedules and move competition to a “bubble,” where contact is limited to team personnel. The Pac-12 Conference, which includes Arizona State and Arizona, has opted not to play this fall.

Fan attendance at high school games will be a local decision, the AIA said. School administrators will determine who will be allowed to attend games based on information from the Arizona Department of Health Services and other sources.

The AIA has shared recent rules modifications for golf, including mobile scoring, no handshakes, players and spectators leaving the course immediately, no raking of bunkers, and adjustments to warmups and size restrictions of invitational tournaments.

The concern about coronavirus was a reality for Centennial High School football coach Richard Taylor.

“At the younger levels, we’ve had some kids that decided not to play this year,” Taylor said. “About two or three. At the varsity level, we had some other players that initially when we were allowed to go, they stayed (home) and didn’t come to practices. I think they wanted to see how things were going to be run and that we were going to follow all of the procedures and protocols. I think that once they felt comfortable with that, they showed up.”

At Agua Fria Unified High School District, “We are now in the yellow and are allowed to start football practice officially on Sept. 7,” said Autumn Daniels, the district’s athletic director.”

“All fall sports have been approved at Agua Fria, and our other teams are practicing and have started competition for golf so far. 

“Each sport is phased in with different start dates and were pushed back. We are starting to solidify our other schedules,” Daniels added.