The good, the bad, and the ugly of divisions

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In preparation of the 2015-2016 school year, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) released the official list of what schools are in what sports divisions. Big moves in football include Queen Creek and Saguaro moving up to division-1 and Perry moving down to…division-2?

Our football team went 5-5 in the regular season in 2014 and made it to playoffs. Regardless of losing in the first round, the boys proved they belonged in division-1. Against all odds and without encouraging support from many Perry students, our football team worked hard to prove they could compete with division-1 schools.

So why are they moving down?

And girls’ soccer? They also moved down to division-2 even though they kicked butt in division-1 in 2014. They had a 14-7-2 record and flew through playoffs beating Sandra Day O’ Connor, Basha, and Boulder Creek. They made it to the championship game and earned second place in division-1 behind Pinnacle (thanks refs). Still the girls proved that ️Perry soccer belonged (and dominated) in division-1.

So how does your division-1 runner up get moved down to division-2?

Politics.

The AIA has decided to base division placement on multiple factors instead of solely on school population. It is now not just based on enrollment, but also on percentage of free and reduced lunch, and the team’s winning percentage for the last five years.

I understand what the AIA is trying to do; they want to make the divisions more fair for teams with great athletes but a small school population and vice versa. However, I think their system is flawed if teams like Perry football and girls’ soccer are being moved down.

And the AIA understands it too. This is why they are allowing schools to appeal their placements. Perry appealed and earned their football and girls’ soccer teams their rightful places in division-1.

However, by letting teams appeal the AIA has created even more problems. By basically allowing schools to choose their levels of competition, the AIA is left with uneven divisions.

Overall, the entire thing was poorly planned out on the AIA’s part and hopefully they can find out a way to get the right schools in the right divisions while keeping all the levels even. Let’s hope they fix it in a timely manner; for example before the 2015-2016 school year.

But let’s not put all the blame on the AIA, because I get it. Whether it is the new division standards for sports, the new AZ Merit test, or the new freshman, everyone has a few bugs to work out in their first year of high school.