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Winter high school sports back on in Arizona after AIA vote

(Photo by Gray Mortimore/Getty Images)

One flipped vote on the executive board of the Arizona Interscholastic Association led the organization to move forward with a start of the high school winter sports season on Jan. 18.

Board member Jim Love said he changed his vote to allow schools to make a choice as to whether they should participate.

Love’s flip made it 5-4 in favor of moving forward with a high school sports winter season.

The AIA said masks will be required to be worn by athletes during competitions and that each school will fill out and exchange COVID-19 monitoring forms before games.

The committee later amended their guidelines, which originally called for no fans at events, to allow two parents or guardians to attend their childrens’ home games.

The latest vote comes after the executive board on Friday voted 5-4 to cancel the 2021 winter high school sports season. David Hines, the AIA executive director, said that decision brought about harassment and threats to some AIA board members. Before the discussion on Tuesday, Hines asked that students, parents and coaches treat the board’s decision with respect.

The decision Friday came after an executive meeting was held. A recommendation from the AIA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee said that the organization should cancel the winter sports season due to the state of Arizona’s spiking coronavirus levels.

The AIA had already decided to delay high school winter sports, which usually begin in November, until at least Jan. 18.

As of Tuesday, Arizona has reported more COVID-19 deaths in the last eight days (1,418) than it did during all of July (1,401), the worst month of the summer wave.

As of Monday, Arizona had the highest rate per capita nationally for COVID-19 deaths and second-highest rate for cases over the last seven days, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


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