The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s new executive director will be chosen at Monday’s executive board meeting.
The three finalists are David Hines, the AIA’s assistant executive director; Anna Battle, Tempe Union assistant superintendent for district operations; and Mike Sivertson, coordinator of athletics and business operations at Peoria Unified School District
Here are five issues that will be on the plate of the new executive director, who is replacing the retiring Harold Slemmer:
The recent vote by the AIA’s legislative council to allow teams to practice year-round could result in the advent of 7-on-7 passing leagues throughout the winter and spring months. Is that something the AIA will welcome, given the legislative council’s mandate, or will there be trepidation to formalize offseason football workouts into activities such as passing leagues or big man competitions?
According to Slemmer, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the AIA to find good, young officials, particularly in softball and track. Plus, the number of hires aren’t keeping up with the number of officials retiring. Will the AIA have to consider raising its game pay to officials to attract better candidates?
As reported earlier, the cancellation of athletic programs is on the rise across the state. Since the school year began, 66 programs have been canceled, compared to 52 over the same period in the 2015-16 school year. With more and more club opportunities available for kids, what can the AIA do to maintain participation numbers, specifically at the freshman and junior-varsity levels?
Fans always are complaining about the venues the AIA selects for its postseason games. The problem: Unlike a lot of states, there aren’t multiple universities available for use. The new director will have to deftly handle negotiations with cities and universities all while keeping the teams’ and fans’ interest in mind.
The recent spate of racial slurs at high school basketball games concerns administrators. Some believe the current political climate is lending itself to such displays. Others believe student sections trying to outdo one another and push the envelope is leading to poor behavior. Discipline for such incidents is handled by schools and/or school districts. But is there anything more the AIA can and should do to discourage such incidents?