AIA to allow more fans to attend winter season home games

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Pima’s Sam Pippo drives the ball. On Tuesday, the AIA Executive Board voted to allow more fans to attend winter season home games. However, the board also voted to continue the mask mandate throughout the season and playoffs.

Mask mandate to continue for winter sports through the remainder of the season, including playoffs

By Seth Polansky/AIA Sports Information Coordinator

PHOENIX – The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board voted Tuesday to allow more fans to attend winter season home games. 

But each district must first check with their local health officials to determine the number of fans that can attend games.  

“Even though the (COVID-19) numbers are going down, they are still high (compared) to the beginning of the fall season,” AIA Executive Director Hines said. “So we are hoping people are very reasonable to allow a few more people in their stands. But to open up completely would be not a good choice and not helpful to the community or the state of Arizona.”  

During Tuesday’s monthly board meeting at the AIA, the board also voted to continue the mask mandate in the remainder of the winter season, including the playoffs. 

On or about March 1, the board will discuss if the mandate will continue when the spring sports teams start to practice.

Football teams to remain in same conferences; New transfer modification approved

The board voted to accept two of the AIA’s Football Reclassification Committee’s recommendations that were made earlier this month. 

First, for the 2021-22 school year, football teams will remain in the same conferences they participated in during the 2020-21 school year. Schools can appeal their conference placement and will have five business days to do so after the minutes of Tuesday’s board meeting are posted. 

The 2021-22 team conference placement can be found here:

The meeting’s minutes will be posted here ( The appeals will be heard on Feb. 25 by conference leaders. 

If an appeal is denied, schools will then have five business days to appeal to the AIA’s Executive Board. The AIA’s board will hear those appeals on March 15. 

The second recommendation the AIA’s board accepted was the start and end dates for the 2021-22 football seasons. The 1A will continue to follow its traditional schedule, per AIA bylaws. 

The 2A and 3A Conferences will delay the start of their seasons by a week and will begin practicing on Aug. 2, play 10 regular-season games over a 10-week period, and start their playoffs on Nov. 5. 

The 2A and 3A playoffs will end on Nov. 26 or 27. The 4A, 5A, and 6A Conferences requested a two-week delay to start the season. The conference members will begin practicing on Aug. 9 and will play a 10-week schedule during an 11-week period (from Aug. 27-Nov. 12). Their playoffs will start on Nov. 17 and conclude Dec. 10-11.