Goodbye freedom games. Hello requested games.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board voted 8-1 Monday to accept a proposal put forth by the computer scheduling committee that would create smaller sections for every sport and alter the way non-sectional games are scheduled.
In preparation for the upcoming scheduling block, the computer scheduling software will schedule only games within a team’s section so that each team plays every other team in its section. Non-section games ultimately will be scheduled by the computer scheduling committee based on requests by individual coaches and athletic directors.
Some coaches, through the various sports advisory committees, have expressed a wish for more freedom when putting together their schedule. AIA Associate Executive Director Chuck Schmidt said a concerted effort will be made to reconcile those concerns with the new scheduling process.
The meetings to schedule requested games will be open to coaches and athletic directors to make their case for the games they’d prefer. The AIA also will continue to consider input from the sports advisory committees on how many section games should be played, such as whether basketball teams should play home-and-home or just single games against sectional opponents.
“The goal here is that the board is focusing on making sure coaches understand that there is an opportunity to speak,” Schmidt said. “It is transparent.”
Harold Slemmer, the AIA executive director, floated a hybrid idea that would allow schools a two-week window to schedule their non-section games on their own, and leave the computer scheduling committee to fill in the rest for schools unable to arrange a complete schedule. But Joseph Paddock, the 4A conference representative for the scheduling committee, said trying to build equitable schedules for the scraps of schools left after a two-week free-for-all would be nightmarish.
“We do as a group need to look at what all schools in our association needs, which in many cases is just games,” computer scheduling committee Chairman Derek Fahleson said.
In the current system, the majority of games in every sport are scheduled by the computer scheduling software, with a premium put on travel considerations and less on equal competition. Now, the computer will only schedule games within division and within section to ensure more competitive equity, but travel costs are likely to increase.
Schmidt said the AIA has looked at travel implications across three sports under the new proposal and expects travel, by mileage, to increase by an average of 30 percent for each school.
That’s a tradeoff for competitive balance.
“I think all of the committees came forward based on the desire to address concerns with competition,” Schmidt said. “I think it was the primary driving factor when it comes to the proposals that came to the board today.”
The board also issued a warning to Tempe High School for leaving the field of play in the middle of its Sept.7 game against Scottsdale Saguaro, meaning it is still eligible for postseason play but ineligible for certain school-wide recognitions like the H.A. Hendrickson Overall Excellence Award.Tempe’s concern for health and safety of its students was cited as a reason for issuing a warning rather than the more stringent probation, which is normally used in similar circumstances.