Recommended Guidelines for Return to Activity

AIA's Executive Board has endorsed guidelines for the return to sport and activity for competition in the winter.

Seth Polansky
Sports Information Coordinator

Arizona Launches InSideOut Initiative with Cardinals, AIA and NFL Foundation

October 28, 2020 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365

Phoenix, Arizona – The InSideOut Initiative—a national movement that empowers and equips school communities to implement purpose-based athletics—will launch soon in Arizona, in partnership with the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA)  and NFL Foundation.

As the COVID-19 pandemic introduces a significant disruption to normal day-to-day life for young people, high school athletics programs have a unique role to play in contributing to a sense of belonging and community that is so desperately needed. 

School systems all over the country are diligently working to support the academic, social, emotional and character development of students. Yet historically, state, district, and school leaders uniformly dismiss interscholastic athletics as a viable tool to address this need. The InSideOut Initiative provides training for educational leaders, athletic administrators, coaches, and community-stakeholders and supports schools in redefining and reframing the value of sports as a platform to develop the human potential of students. 

"Sports participation while in school offers a tremendous opportunity to make an impact on the social-emotional and character development of our young people. We are thrilled to partner with the Arizona Cardinals and NFL Foundation in launching the InSideOut Initiative to our members and ensuring these student-athletes, coaches and administrators embrace the ideal of education-based athletics,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said.

Since its inception in 2015, the InSideOut Initiative has impacted nearly 4 million student-athletes across 15 states—connecting them to transformational coaches in a nurturing community. The Initiative is uniquely innovative in that it is the first systems-level intervention to prioritize social-emotional and character development in high school athletics.

“The Cardinals are proud to support the launch of the InSideOut initiative in Arizona. Sports of all kinds and at all levels have the unique ability to bring communities together and also instill critical values in young people that last a lifetime. We appreciate the support of our partners in this initiative and the meaningful impact it will have throughout Arizona,” Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim said.

For sports to provide students with the human growth and moral development opportunities, school communities must redefine and reframe the educational value of participation in athletics. Arizona is committed to doing this work, starting now.

About the InSideOut Initiative

The InSideOut Initiative (ISOI) is a national movement that empowers and equips school communities to implement purpose-based athletics by connecting student-athletes to transformational coaches in a nurturing community for their social-emotional and character development. Through the InSideOut System and InSideOut Philosophy, schools redefine and reframe the educational value of sports as a platform to develop the human potential of students. Learn more at 

About the Arizona Interscholastic Association

The AIA is a voluntary association of public and private Arizona high schools. Since 1913, the organization has created and sustained interscholastic activities that encourage maximum student participation by providing AIA member schools with an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition. The AIA believes that providing interscholastic activities for Arizona high school students creates personal development opportunities with a balanced focus on academics and extracurricular activities. Through its Arizona member schools, the AIA reaches more than 100,000 participants in high school activity programs. The organization hosts 5,000 championship contests and officiates more than 45,000 regular season games. For more information, visit and