AIA board: New board members selected

January 19, 2017 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Board members Jacob Holiday and Herman House were picked as the AIA’s board president and vice president for the remainder of the school year, respectively, during Tuesday’s Arizona Interscholastic Association board meeting. 

Dr. Anna Battle, the AIA board president when the current school year started, stepped down since she is applying for the AIA’s executive director job. Longtime Valley athletic administrator Mark Cisterna, the current district athletic director for Maricopa, was chosen to represent the 5A Conference on the board.   

Financial report

Denise Doser, the AIA’s director of finance, said the AIA is slightly ahead of its budget plans with 50 percent of the school year completed.

“It’s tracking well,” she said.

Gate receipts are ahead of schedule compared to last year, Doser added.

With the small school volleyball championships moving from Prescott to Phoenix in 2016, there was a decrease in facility rental fees.

During Doser’s report, the board and AIA staff talked about the issues of booking postseason venues in Arizona, a state that is not rich in facilities.

“We are always hopeful that relationships will evolve,” said Dr. Harold Slemmer, the AIA’s executive director, about working with the leadership that operate some of the bigger venues in the state. 

It was noted that the Arizona Cardinals and University of Arizona are very cooperative when the AIA contacts them to hosts events at their sites.  

---Board member Dr. Camille Casteel asked why the cost of purchasing rule books is $19,000 during Doser’s report.

Dr. Slemmer said that the National Federation of State High School Associations tried online methods to post rule books but such methods aren’t yet workable.

Membership reports

Board member Sister Lynn Winsor, the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association representative on the board and Xavier Prep's athletic director, said that 34 Arizona high school athletic directors as well as Dr. Slemmer and David Hines, the AIA’s assistant executive director, attended the 47th annual National Athletic Directors Conference in Nashville in December.

About 2,100 athletic directors were at the conference. The Phoenix Convention Center will host the next conference from Dec. 9-12. 

Winsor also said that about 140 Arizona high school administrators also recently attended a meeting at Xavier Prep to go over potential Legislative Council items.

Executive director report

Dr. Slemmer began his monthly report by giving an update on items that were discussed during the NFHS Winter meeting he recently attended.

These were some of the items that were addressed:

In the future, Dr. Slemmer said, schools should be aware of an unmanned three-shot camera that will be unveiled this year. The equipment costs about $3,500 and can be used to broadcast games.    

--State associations want to modify the rules to allow student athletes of military families to continue playing. Student athletes of military families often have to transfer. 

--The University of Wisconsin recently published a study about the lower body injuries student athletes are suffering because they specialize in just one sport.

The study found that the injury rate is higher for athletes who specialize in just one sport.

--Allowing high school teams to compete in national championship-type of events is an ongoing discussion. The AIA allows schools to decide if they want to compete in those events.

--During his report, Dr. Slemmer also mentioned a magazine article and book he recently read that examine topics — gender roles, technology, globalization, climate change — that might affect high school athletics. National Geographic recently published an article on gender issues, and Thomas Friedman’s book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerationsexplores how technology, globalization and climate change are affecting the workplace, politics, ethics and community.  

--Dr. Slemmer also gave an update on the My Reason Why Campaign of the NFHS. The AIA will be sending video vignettes to the NFHS of student athletes expressing why they love participating in high school sports. 

--Dr. Slemmer recognized the efforts of Hines for how he and his staff managed Saturday’s spiritline state championships at Gilbert High.  

—During Dr. Slemmer’s report, Hines also gave an update on two committees that were recently formed. Each committee made recommendations during their first meetings that will be voted on during the Legislative Council meeting in March.

The Cancellation Committee was formed to help end/stem the program and contest cancellations schools make every month. The Cancellation Committee made three recommendations. 

First, it wants to allow a JV ‘B’ team, comprised of freshmen and sophomores, to compete just in case schools don’t have enough players during a junior varsity or freshman game. Second, because of the high turnover in coaches and athletic directors, administrators and coaches annually need to be reminded that they are under contract to compete and cancelling a program/contest is not an option. 

Finally, the committee recommended to implement consequences for cancelling programs/contests. There will be a fine and a team will be removed from the second year of the two-year scheduling block for cancelling game/program. 

That program can still schedule independently in the second year and can compete in the playoffs if it picks up enough games.

The Out of Season Committee made a recommendation to allow high school coaches to work with their athletes outside of the season of an AIA defined sport. Some of this happens already, but, if the Legislative Council approves, the difference will be that each district will be responsible for insurance coverage.

Schools can use the AIA’s catastrophic insurance only during an AIA defined season.

4A request for double elimination state tourneys fails

Because of venue and officials costs and pitch count concerns, the board voted not to allow the 4A Conference to participate in double elimination baseball and softball state tournaments this season. The AIA’s tournament staff will analyze if it’s feasible to run double elimination tournaments in 4A next year.   

Agenda items approved

The board approved the following agenda items:

The contests and or program cancellation requests from 16 schools, including eight junior varsity basketball programs. Most of the requests were from junior varsity and freshmen programs. 

--The additional game requests from six schools.

--The AIA’s member schools’ request to begin Spring Football on April 24 and end May 20. Because of school testing, the AIA members wanted to move up the Spring Football start date.

--Holbrook Indian School’s application to become an associate AIA member when the 2017-18 school year begins.

--Peoria Basis’ application to become a non-athletic AIA member when the 2017-18 school year begins.

--The 2A North Region’s request to host a region basketball tournament from Feb. 1-4. The North Region teams are Alchesay, Pinon, St. Johns, Valley, Hopi, Many Farms, and Round Valley.

--The Miami-Globe High Schools’ request to allow their tennis and track teams to combine their programs for a one season trial. The measure passed 5-4.

The rival schools are about five miles apart. Globe didn’t have enough players for a tennis team, and Miami had trouble fielding a track team.

Herman House, the 6A Conference representative on the board, opposed the request and stated more time was needed to study the possibility of allowing two schools to combine sports. AIA member charter schools that might not offer specific sports often ask if their student athletes can compete at public schools, Dr. Slemmer said.

Future AIA dates

Jan. 23-24: Spring sports hardship appeal hearings.

Jan. 26: Legislative Council agenda deadline.

Feb. 20: AIA office closed for holiday.

Feb. 21: AIA board meeting.

March 3: Legislative Council meeting.

March 20: AIA board meeting.

School violations

What follows is a list of the violations schools self-reported recently and the punishment they each received during Tuesday’s board meeting.

The board voted not to take further action against Notre Dame’s football program after a report uncovered more bylaw violations. The former football coach was dismissed and two Notre Dame administrators were also disciplined.

The former football coach allegedly violated two bylaws. First, according to a Diocese of Phoenix report, the coach made an unannounced visit to the home of a transferring player and inappropriate offers of assistance to the family to keep the player from leaving the school. Also, the coach attempted to recruit an 8th grade student to play football at Notre Dame, an allegation that the report concludes is true based on what the father of the 8thgrader said. 

These were the other school violations and disciplinary action the board took:

Advisement for Tempe High’s boys basketball. After a Saturday practice, Tempe scrimmaged/practiced against a non-Tempe High School at Tempe High’s gym. AIA member schools may only practice against their own school team during their season of sport.

Probation for North Pointe Prep’s girls soccer program. The program discontinued a recent soccer game during halftime after two players sustained concussions inside the goalie box without a card being given, according to the school. According to AIA bylaw 25.1.2, programs at all levels are subject to disciplinary action when a team is removed from the field prior to the completion of a contest. The program can appeal the decision. 

Advisement for Lake Havasu girls basketball. An athlete who transferred played in a game without filling out the 520 form.    

Warning for Westwood wrestling. The wrestling team forfeited a match because the coach “disregarded” the school’s eligibility list. A wrestler hadn’t completed his 520 form after transferring from Mesa High.

Advisement for Maricopa girls basketball. A freshman basketball player participated in four quarters in a freshman game and then played three more during the JV game. The JV contest was forfeited and three coaches were reprimanded. According to bylaw 21.5.3, no player shall participate in more than six quarters per night.

Advisement for Hamilton boys basketball. A basketball coach accidently played a player in seven quarters in one night. The contest was forfeited. 

Advisement for Rio Rico boys basketball. The school didn’t utilize the 530 form to verify the sports participation of a student athlete during the past 12 months. 

Advisement for Sahuaro spiritline. The school cancelled a girls soccer game after two of its players suffered concussions after colliding in a practice. According to bylaw, a varsity contest that can have a bearing on a regional or state playoffs shall not be cancelled or forfeited without prior approval by the AIA’s board.

Advisement for Desert Edge spiritline. Desert Edge skipped an event because of an injury.

Advisement for Apache Junction. The school’s cheer team cancelled its participation in an AIA state qualifier because of injuries and turnover after the football season. 

Advisement for Thunderbird boys soccer. A soccer player participated in a non-school league game during the weekend with his father. According to bylaw 14.4.1, a student can’t compete with any other group/club/organization/association in that sport during the interscholastic season of competition. Thunderbird forfeited a contest.

Advisement for Estrella Foothills girls soccer. During a birthday celebration in the locker room for two soccer players on Sunday Dec. 11, the topic of the team’s next game arose as the team was cleaning up, according to the team. The coach was present during the celebration. According to bylaw 14.2.1, teams aren’t allowed to practice or hold “chalk talks” about games on Sundays during the school year. 

Warning for activities program of Boulder Creek. After a home game, a parent and his college-age son, who are relatives of a Boulder Creek player, assaulted an official after a basketball game.

Advisement for activities program of Anthem Prep. The school used non-registered AIA officials during a game since the AIA officials didn’t show up, the school said in its report.  


An advisement is a word of caution. 

warning places a school in jeopardy of being placed on probation if another violation of any rule or regulation is committed. A school will not be eligible for the Overall Excellence Award during a warning period.  

Probation. If a school or one of its sports program is placed on probation, that school/program is ineligible for the postseason and will not receive any award for achievement in that sport. A school is not eligible also for the Overall Excellence Award during its probation period.