DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Winter sports temporarily frozen in time

 Xavier Prep’s soccer and basketball teams will have to wait an extra two weeks for their seasons to begin, from the week of Jan. 5 to Jan. 18. The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board decided in a meeting on Friday (Dec. 18) to make that move in the wake of rising Covid virus numbers.

That means the start of the spring sports seasons also will be pushed back to March 1.

With a Jan. 5 start, basketball was due to play 15 games, while soccer was due to play 11. Whether the schedules need to be adjusted again isn’t clear at this point. The goal is to play seven-week seasons, but any schedule changes will need to be put in place by the various conferences, according to a Friday press release by the AIA.

The plan is to still have playoffs/state tournaments at the close of the regular season, around the end of February. Teams had begun preseason practices for about the last two weeks, and will be able to continue that without stoppage. The AIA wants teams to have about 14 days of practice before the regular season begins.

Under the current guidelines, spectators will not be allowed at games, as previously was the case, but that could change if virus numbers improve.

“These measures will allow us to start the season and I hope, that as we see hospitalizations go down, some of the restrictions regarding spectators, be lifted, said AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a press release.

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