Grants available for schools that need trainers

November 15, 2016 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

The NFL Foundation wants to help Arizona’s high schools fill a big void.

About 40 percent of the state’s high schools don’t have a fulltime trainer on campus. To spur the hiring of trainers, the foundation launched a pilot program that will provide funding to public high schools with football programs that have “limited or no access to an athletic trainer.” 

Public high schools at four states, including Arizona, will receive $35,000 grants during a three-year period to fund an athletic training program. For more information on the NFL Foundation program and to apply for one of the 150 grants go here

Dr. Harold Slemmer, the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive director, informed the AIA’s board about the grant during Monday’s monthly board meeting. 

Executive director report

On Monday, the board also reviewed a survey that AIA member schools returned to the AIA with information on the characteristics/qualities member schools want in the next AIA executive director.

After 18 years of service, Dr. Slemmer is retiring at the end of the current school year. A description of the executive director job opening will likely be approved during the December board meeting.  

—Gary Whelchel, the AIA’s state commissioner of officials, explained the postseason selection process of officials.

First, the regular season evaluation of officials helps in the decision making. The AIA’s officials get a copy of the evaluation.

Every ejection of athletes an official might have made are are also evaluated.

Secondly, Whelchel’s observations as well as the opinions of area commissioners also play a role in who gets selected for postseason duty. Officials who call games in one conference during a season will remain in that conference in the postseason, Whelchel added.

Diversity and input from coaches also play roles in the selection process.

“The AIA manages the training of officials but officials train the officials,” Whelchel said.

—The AIA’s tournament directors gave the board fall tournament updates during Monday’s meeting. 

Dean Visser, the AIA’s badminton, cross country and golf fall coordinator, lauded the professionalism of the state programs during the weather delays and second-day cancelation of the big school golf state events. Cross country had a big fan turnout but no “coyotes and snakes.”

A coyote ran stride for stride with runners during a portion of a state race a couple of seasons ago at Cave Creek Golf Course. Runners spotted a rattlesnake at a state meet in another state. 

The badminton state tournaments ran without a hitch, Visser added.

David Hines, the AIA’s assistant executive director, thanked Phoenix Country Day for hosting the state championship meet that was added this season. He also recapped the extraordinary job the spiritline teams did during the first state qualifier of the school year.

A new spiritline event, Game Day, was a hit with 22 teams participating during the qualifier at Chaparral High. Ron Halback, the football and volleyball coordinator, thanked the Phoenix District sites for hosting the small school division volleyball finals.

The AIA’s officials who worked those events also worked the score tables. Halback also thanked the Gilbert and Tempe Districts for hosting the final big school volleyball matches. 

For football, there were some “unique challenges” with some 2A football playoff sites, which forced some games to be moved. Halback also thanked Maricopa High School and its staff for hosting and working the 1A title and semifinal games.

—Brian Bolitho, the AIA’s director of business development, gave an update on a new pilot scorekeeping app, Scorebird, the AIA is using.  

The app helped provide live scoring updates during the first rounds of the big school playoff football games. During the games a ticker with the scores appeared on the bottom of the 

Fans also downloaded the Scorebird app to get live results. Scorebird provided the score keeping equipment to schools.

With the equipment, athletic directors will no longer have to input the scores after each game, eliminating the delay of updating rankings and reporting scores. The state associations of Alabama and Arizona are the only ones using Scorebird.

Membership comments

Board member Dr. Camille Casteel expressed some concerns about broadcasting the AIA’s bracket shows on Sundays.

This year was the first time that the AIA hosted its state volleyball bracket show on a Sunday. The schools were allowed to host viewing bracket get-togethers but are not allowed to practice or “talk shop” on Sundays.

—Board member Sister Lynn Winsor said that the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association will hold a meeting on Jan. 13 from 9 a.m.-noon at Xavier to go over items that might be on the legislative council’s agenda.     

Agenda items approved

The board voted to allow the 6A Conference to create a committee, with members from each conference, that will review and clarify the out of season competition bylaw. 

The following agenda items also were approved:

—The student eligibility appeals from Perry and Trevor Browne High School.

—The Grand Canyon Region’s request to run an additional tournament during the basketball season.

—Page coach Reggie Edwards’ request for a complimentary pass replacement.

—Mingus Mountain Academy’s verification of faculty request.

—The additional game requests from 15 programs.

—The cancellation requests from 13 programs.

Items denied

After a long discussion, Valley Christian’s request to allow a sophomore to play on a freshman basketball team was denied.   

North Phoenix Prep’s appeal to rescind the fines that were assessed for cancelling its varsity football season didn’t garner a motion. The school will still need to pay the fines. 

School violations

Below are the violations schools self reported in the past month. 

Advisement for Flagstaff High golf’s program. A golfer practiced without completing the AIA’s registration process. The error occurred during the hiring of a new coach.

Advisement for Centennial High’s girls volleyball program. A junior varsity player competed in three matches while also participating with her club team. 

The three contests were forfeited.

Warning for Baboquivari activities program.  A mechanical issue to a bus forced Baboquivari to cancel a football game as it was headed to Ray High. Baboquivari attempted to notify Ray but couldn’t contact anybody.

Baboquivari cancelled another football game, this time to St. David, because of ineligible players and a shortage of bus drivers. It also cancelled a volleyball match against St. David.  

Advisement for Bradshaw Mountain’s girls basketball program. Bradshaw Mountain’s girls basketball team allowed the 8th grade daughter of an assistant coach to attend an open gym practice the team held. The daughter brought a friend, the sister of a Bradshaw Mountain student athlete, to the practice.

Advisement for the Mesa High activities program. Mesa didn’t input an out of state football game in the master AIA scheduled until after it was played. Mesa didn’t know how to enter the out of state game in the schedule.

Warning for Saguaro’s activities program. Saguaro’s athletics office allowed a charter school student to participate on Saguaro’s cross country girls team. The student attends a non-AIA member school. The school inaccurately interpreted the enrollment bylaw (15.3.1). Saguaro forfeited the contests the runner participated in.

Warning to Glendale’s swim program. Glendale allowed a swimmer to participate without the appropriate clearance paperwork. The contests were forfeited and the coaches were reprimanded. 

Advisement for Palo Verde activities program. A senior participated in two Palo Verde junior varsity football games, which Palo Verde lost. 

Advisement for Desert Mountain’s swim program. Desert Mountain self reported that it violated the international student eligibility bylaw when it allowed a swimmer to participate in two invitationals.