The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board voted 5-4 Friday to cancel the high school winter sports season due to Arizona having the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations.
According to a news release, the board’s vote came after the Sports Medicine Advisory Committed made a recommendation to cancel the season.
The advisory committee noted that 93% of all ICU beds and 92% of all inpatient beds are in use statewide, “leaving concern that injured students may be unable to receive needed care due to a lack of beds or available medical professionals,” the news release stated.
“Unfortunately, it is expected that the state will see a continued rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations for some time. As medical professionals, we cannot in good conscience recommend that students engage in a winter season under the current conditions,” said SMAC Committee Chair Dr. Wilson.
“We do not see the situation improving very quickly. Unfortunately, it does not appear that there will be adequate time before the start of the spring season for a winter season to occur,” said Executive Board President Toni Corona.
“While we understand the Board’s position, we are saddened by this decision, especially considering that Club sports are continuing. To the best of our knowledge, never in our 100-plus-year history has the AIA canceled an entire season. We want nothing more than for our students to be active in school and participating in interscholastic sports and activities. It is my sincerest hope that all Arizonans will follow the CDC and Arizona Health guidelines by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and practicing social distance to decrease cases and hospitalizations. If for no other reason, I hope we can do it for the kids.” said AIA Executive Director David Hines.
Spring sports, scheduled to begin March 1, will be dependent upon statewide metrics improving and further evaluation by SMAC and the Executive Board. The Board is comprised of representatives of the member schools and statewide educational organizations.