PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- In response to Governor Doug Ducey's announcement Monday that school in Arizona will not start until August 17, the Arizona Interscholastic Association says the fall high school sports season will also not officially begin until August 17, rather than late July.
In a statement, the AIA says, "This will push back the starting dates of practice for all fall sports and activities, and delay the start of competition seasons."
Governor Doug Ducey and state leaders announced pushing back the opening of schools in Arizona in the fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The statement goes on to say that sports teams will operate under summer rules, which mandate all workouts as voluntary until schools officially reopened.
It also says, "Exact dates for the beginning of competition will not be finalized until the AIA gathers much-needed information from the schools to present to the AIA Executive Board for consideration. If revised timelines for the fall interfere with the winter sports season, those schedules will also be addressed at a later date."
Before the AIA released this news, the immediate reaction to Governor Ducey's news from several local football coaches was that it wouldn't be the end of the world if the season was shortened.
Desert Ridge's Jeremy Hathcock said, "If we have to bite a game or two because of this, I don't see a problem with that whatsoever."
Rick Garretson, at Chandler, said, "I don't know if we'd play an eight-game schedule instead of a ten-game schedule. I know this, we play a collision sport. And you have to have the kids with a foundation both strength-wise, cardio-wise, and football readiness-wise."
As of right now, both coaches would still like to see a season played, but only with the right preparations.
"Selfishly I guess, speaking, we're going to have a pretty good football team," said Garretson. "So if those kids were not allowed to participate, I would just be sad. But you know, we're all young men and adults about things, and we're going to do what's right."
Hathcock said, "If we don't have a plan moving forward, a solid plan, then no, we should not play. This is why -- some districts say if one person has COVID on your team, you have to miss two weeks. Some districts are saying, hey, we can quarantine that person and they're done. So if we're going to play, I think we need to have a solid plan moving forward."
Both coaches still have plenty of questions about how to proceed. There is another part of Ducey's announcement Monday that could be a factor. If gyms are closing for the next month in Arizona, does that mean no lifting weights at school, which teams have been doing most of June. Coaches said that could impact their physical readiness.