Arizona Looks to Clarify Non-School Participation Rule

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The Arizona Interscholastic Association is looking to clarify the wording of rules that govern non-school participation.

According the, the AIA Executive board has agreed to review the current rule, which has been around for 20 years and is aimed at keeping club coaches from interfering with players during their high school season.

David Hines, executive director of the AIA, said the board is looking to clarify the language.

As it's written now, it states: 

"A student who is a member or becomes a member of a school team shall not practice, have practiced or compete with any other group, club, organization, association, etc., in that sport during the interscholastic season of competition."

It later reads, "Any student violating the above rule shall forfeit his/her eligibility for a minimum of the balance of the season for that sport or up to a maximum of one calendar year. 

"An individual, it is determined in the bylaw, may take private lessons anytime except during the school day or during school practice sessions. Schools shall not pay for, arrange or in any way provide these individual private lessons. Individual private lessons shall not be used to circumvent or evade the non-school participation rule and any such use of private lessons will be considered a violation of the non-school participation rule."

Hines said the board felt the players should not be suspended more than the one game they sat out, and that there was "an impetus to address the rule in the future."

"At the (Chandler Unified School District), a lot of kids do training," Hamilton athletic director Brett Palmer said. "They're just trying to better themselves. We communicate to our coaches, 'Don't do this.' If parents feel kids need the training, we don't have control about that. All we can do is let them know, 'You're putting your son or daughter at risk.' It needs to be tweaked. The AIA got a lot of heat on it. Hopefully, David can help."

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