Chuck Schmidt

The start of a new year… good news.

August 26, 2011 by Chuck Schmidt, AZPreps365


Although The Sollenberger Classic kicked-off the fall season last week, the media is saying today is really the start of football (the fall season).  Either way the fall sports season is underway, not only football but also volleyball, badminton, fall soccer, cross country, swimming and diving, and golf. The good news is that contrary to some media reports, we have good news out of the AIA.

Many questions continue to be raised on the changes for scheduling, tournaments and recognition, primarily centered on football. While the process, since the 2008 AIA Strategic Plan for the current format has been engaged (over 750 people being involved in vetting the reconfiguration), many still have concerns. Let me address some and put away the conjecture…

  1. Students in all sports will be recognized through an objective process in selecting all section and all division honorees. This will include all sports, both boys and girls activities, all levels and every coach will have a voice in nominating and selecting. This has never been done in Arizona. In many cases some sports did not receive recognition. Some conferences did more than others. Some conferences did nothing. Some coaches did not have a voice as they were not a member of a coaches association… although football will make the front page today, the AIA is making sure that all students gain recognition tomorrow. This recognition will be displayed on An objective and inclusive recognition for all students is something this association can be proud of…
  2. Tournament reconfiguration… we have 6 classifications in football (known as divisions). One less from the conference splits in 4A and 5A (creating 7 championships) but one more from the previous 5 class system. Addressing concerns of watered down championships, travel, and fiscal needs, the decision–making process focused on all sports. In addition, with football at 6 divisions we are now able to secure appropriate venues and finish on Thanksgiving weekend. This allows schools and students to promote and allow students to also play in winter sports, a change I have not heard of one complaint.
  3. The changes were needed to address many concerns that include reduction in travel, keeping kids in school and addressing the fiscal operations of the Association.
  4. Historical and unprecedented coverage on and other media partners…

In addition to the reconfiguration, this fall marks the launch of the partnership between the AIA and the Arizona Special Olympics Unified Sports programs. Being recognized nationally as one of the shining examples of its kind, we are looking forward to watching it grow. If you want more information, please contact Scott Brown at

In addition, we will be announcing a new media strategy that includes our own Kevin Ray on the Friday Night Fever team… Watch for updates on for the good news as we start the 2011-2012 year.