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Arizona Prep Sports to Play On After AIA Board Reversal

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The Arizona Interscholastic Association has reversed course on last week’s decision to cancel winter high school sports.

The Arizona Republic reported that on Tuesday, just four days after canceling the winter season, the AIA Executive Board restored basketball, soccer and wrestling for the 2020-21 school year. When play resumes Jan. 18, each athlete will be able to invite two parents or guardians into athletic events.

Winter prep sports have yet to start in Arizona, as the AIA had originally also delayed the seasons until Jan. 18. According to The Arizona Republic, the season was canceled last Friday after an advisory committee of medical experts recommended the board cancel “because of the continued coronavirus trend and the impact it’s having on overburdened hospitals.”

"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,” Dr. Kristina Wilson, chairwoman of the AIA's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, said during last Friday’s meeting. “We do not see the situation improving very quickly.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported more than 11,000 new positive cases last Friday, with the state’s seven-day new-case average being the second most in the United States.

However, the AIA now plans to play through it after board member Jim Love reversed his vote, saying he wants let schools choose whether or not to play. Love’s reversal led to a 5-4 vote to overturn the previous decision during a meeting in which several people were protesting outside. Athletes in Arizona will have to wear masks and submit a COVID-19 monitoring form.

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