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AIA board elects new members

The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board welcomed a new member, Higley district athletic director Dr. Michael Fowler, and picked two members to remain with the board.

Maricopa County district athletic director Mark Cisterna (5A Conference), Camp Verde athletic director Mark Showers (2A Conference) and Fowler, the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association rep, were elected during Monday’s AIA board meeting. Each new board member will serve three year terms. 

While she completes her fourth term on the executive board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, the board also voted to allow former AIA board president Dr. Anna Battle to serve a one-year term as AIA board liaison. Dr. Battle, Tempe Union superintendent for district operations, will give quarterly reports to the AIA’s board after her NFHS meetings. 
 
Executive director report

During his monthly report, AIA executive director Dr. Harold Slemmer talked about last week’s first annual athletic director meeting and an incident that occurred during an event at American Leadership.

The AD meeting at Xavier Prep was attended by 288 athletic directors. Twenty-seven athletic directors didn’t attend, including 13 from the 1A Conference.

More than 80 percent of the ADs that returned a survey expressed their satisfaction with the meeting, said David Hines, the AIA’s next executive director.

“We appreciate everybody who was there,” Hines said. 

Also, Dr. Slemmer complimented Globe superintendent Jerry Jennex for helping American Leadership understand what it did wrong when it moved a group of Native American fans during a regular season basketball game.

Dr. Slemmer also told the board during his report that a number of tennis coaches failed to enter the names of players who qualified for the postseason. That error will keep the tennis players from participating at state.

During Dr. Slemmer’s report, AIA board president Jacob Holiday invited the board to hold its October meeting in northern Arizona.

Financial report

The board unanimously approved the 2017-18 annual budget that Denise Doser, the AIA's director of finance, presented during the meeting.

Most notable for the upcoming school year, there will be no membership dues or participation and ticket price increases as well as no tournament entry fees or service charge increases. The upcoming budget echoes the success of the current year’s budget as well as the positive outcome of the recent audit. 

"While event attendance and ticket revenue are dependent upon the support of the participating teams in any given year and sport, the budget reflects the expectation of continued if not increasing support for Arizona student-athletes in their post season endeavors,” Doser said. 

The approved budget also highlights the continued support of the AIA’s partnerships and the fulfillment of those partnerships' requirements.

During her presentation, Doser also stated that the AIA’s operational costs were normal and a slight positive in net income was reported for the month of March, a good sign during a non-tournament month, she said. 

Membership comments   

The board agreed to allow Buckeye High’s football team to exceed the 10-game rule so it can play a game in Hawaii.

Before voting, the board expressed its concern about setting a precedent. But the 4A Conference and region chairs approved Buckeye’s request before the school made its case to the board Monday, when the board unanimously approved Buckeye’s trip. 

During the membership portion of the meeting, the board also tabled the request to establish one start date for all football teams.

This could potentially allow every program to start practicing the same week whether they have a Zero Week game or not. During the upcoming season, more than 55 games have already been scheduled during Zero Week. 

If the rule passes, Zero Week essentially would become Week 1, with 11-man teams having 11 weeks to fill a 10-game schedule and 8-man teams having nine weeks to schedule eight games. The board wants all of the conferences to examine the potential new rule, which the 4A Conference presented, before moving forward.

The board also went over the differences between the suspended and completed games rules. Jeannine Brandel, the 4A Conference board member rep, requested a rule clarification.   

Agenda items approved

The following agenda items were approved:

--AIA lifetime passes for Dan Gaul (Sahuaro), Sister Joan Fitzgerald (Xavier), Gayle Holland (Chaparral), Vicki Johnson (Glendale Union), and Darron Butler (AIA official).

--The 18 contests and or program cancellation requests.

--The additional game requests from Salpointe boys volleyball, Lake Havasu girls volleyball and Flagstaff freshman baseball to help fill the schedule of opponents. Campo Verde’s football’s request was denied.

--The Peoria Unified District’s request to exceed the number of permissible tournaments for boys volleyball so it can host a district tournament on April 21 at Raymond S. Kellis. The participating teams are Cactus, Centennial, Ironwood, Liberty, Peoria, Raymond S. Kellis, and Sunrise Mountain.

School violations

The following violations were reported by schools: 
--Advisement for St. Johns’ track and field program. A volunteer track coach was training a student on Sunday March 19. Athletes are not allowed to practice on Sundays.

--Advisement for Kingman’s softball program. A transfer softball player participated in two tournaments before reaching her eligibility date. Transfer students can’t play in games until after his/her team completes 50 percent of its power point schedule.

--Advisement for Shadow Ridge’s tennis program. Instead of moving up its tennis players when its No. 1 singles player was absent during a match, Shadow Ridge used an alternate, violating rule 28.6.4.

--Advisement for Liberty’s track and field program. A transfer student participated in meets before reaching her eligibility date.

--Advisement for Tucson’s activities program. The boys volleyball coach officiated the first minutes of her junior varsity match before the officials arrived. Schools always need to use assigned officials.

--Advisement for Payson’s girls basketball. The freshman program participated in a middle school tournament after its final regular season game.

--Warning for Casa Grande’s activities. The varsity softball coach didn’t have his coaching certificate, and one of the school’s volunteer softball assistants was coaching without board approval.

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.  

Next board meeting

University of Phoenix Stadium will host the AIA’s final 2016-17 board meeting on May 15, when the stadium will host the AIA’s annual AIA Champions Luncheon. 

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