Arizona high school football teams could be starting official football practices around Labor Day to get ready in time for an Oct. 2 season opener.
That is the proposal that Don Kile, executive director of the Arizona Football Coaches Association, said is going to be presented to the Arizona Interscholastic Association on Monday in a formal letter.
The AIA will be meeting with its medical advisory and COVID-19 crisis committees this coming week, as well as hold its monthly Executive Board meeting virtually.
Kile, with the help from Rich Wellbrock, the association’s president, conducted a conference call Saturday morning that had more than 100 high school coaches join in, Kile said.
Kile said this proposal was two weeks in the making among coaches from all over Arizona.
The AIA last month had given Aug. 17 as a target date to start official football practice, because that was the date given by Gov. Doug Ducey for schools to be allowed to return to in-person instruction.
But the AIA knew that date had to be flexible with school districts all over the board with summer on-campus organized conditioning, many schools still in Phase 1 (small groups) and some not returning to Phase 1 until Monday after a month-long pause in organized activities.
Phoenix Brophy Prep on Monday announced that it wouldn’t be ready to move beyond Phase 1 until at least Sept. 8, and indicated it would have to cancel football for the fall if the season were to begin Sept. 11 with games.
“We proposed October 2 as the first day for varsity competition,” Kile said in a text message. “We feel it gives the best solution for a safe start, ensure the proper preseason conditioning and offers the coaches the best opportunity to prepare the athletes for full competition.”
Kile said that the coaches are placing the priority a safe return for the entire state’s conferences ahead of individual teams.
“I am proud of this group of coaches for taking on this very difficult distraction and coming up with a win-win solution that puts the kids first,” Kile said.
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