Print AIA board makes alignment changes
Written by Brian Bergner   
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 00:00

The Arizona Interscholastic Association officially announced major changes to take place immediately during the 2010-2011 school year that will affect every athletic program in the state, not just the Verde Valley.

Beginning this school year, the AIA executive board officially announced phase one of a two-part plan will take place immediately involving individual sports first, then team sports in 2011-2012.

Individual sports include swimming, cross country, track and field, tennis, golf and wrestling. Badminton is also included, but that particular sport doesn’t affect the Verde Valley high schools.

In the past, there were conferences like 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A-I, 4A-II, 5A-I and 5A-II, which no longer exist.

Teams within those conferences each had a region like the 4A-II Grand Canyon where Mingus Union High School played all these years, or the 2A Central where Camp Verde High School played its games.

Region games were played along with region tournaments in all sports, then a state tournament was held within a team’s conference, like the 3A conference Sedona Red Rock High School was involved with.

With the new changes officially taking place Sept. 1, all schools fall into a divisional format.

The AIA executive board used enrollment as a basis for where it put each school.

In an effort to cut back on state tournament and regional tournament costs, the AIA executive board announced these divisions will play host to more teams.

The biggest schools will fall into Division I, while smaller schools fall into Division II, Division III and so on.

In the past, the 3A conference Sedona played in had 29 schools. Now, a division could have as many as 60.

Basically, for a sport like track and field, where six conferences crowned state champions, now there will be only four divisions in the sport.

Each sport is divided equally depending on how many schools play a particular sport. For instance, more schools have cross country programs than golf programs in Arizona, so golf will have fewer divisions and more schools per division.

There are four divisions in cross country this season, Division I, II, III and IV. Camp Verde and Sedona will run in Division IV while Mingus will run in Division III.

In swimming, both Mingus and Sedona fall into Division II together. In the past, these two teams did not swim against one another when state championships came around in November, but this year, they will.

Sedona, Camp Verde and Mingus all fall into Division III for track and field while in tennis, Verde Valley School, previously a 1A conference school, will have to compete with Sedona and Mingus in Division III.

In golf, Verde Valley, Sedona and Camp Verde will play in Division III while Mingus will play in Division II and in wrestling, Mingus will be in Division III and Camp Verde will be in Division IV.

The AIA Executive Board has yet to release which divisions will hold which schools when team sports go through the change in 2011-2012.