Emma’s Dilemma: AIA problem-solving skills prove to be stellar once again


Newspaper adviser Damien Tippett

Editor and chief Emma Fernandez.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) is back at it again.

They are changing previously simple rules to make them more confusing for the average citizen.

The transfer rule was easy to understand. You move schools and houses? Good for you; play your sport? You transfer schools? That’s not loyalty; sit out a year. Simple.

But no, the AIA doesn’t do simple.

We learned that from the divisions fiasco. This fall the AIA rearranged the divisions. No one was happy with their division placing so the AIA, in an attempt to cover themselves, allowed an “appeal process” to take place. This allowed schools to challenge the AIA on their school’s placement and essentially move to whatever division they wanted. This great idea lead to uneven divisions and a pathetic 17 teams in Division-I.

And so the AIA is doing it again. Now all transfer students—regardless of moving houses or just moving schools—have to sit out half a season.

And I get what they are trying to do. They don’t want any school paying for little Johnny’s new house just so he can play football for their team. And they don’t want parents moving schools and houses just because little Suzie doesn’t like the volleyball coach at her current school.

But this doesn’t really solve that. Recruiting and bad parenting are going to happen no matter what the AIA tries to enforce.

I just feel bad for the kid whose dad got a job three towns away and has no choice but to move. Kids like this used to be able to play, but now they are being punished.

How does that make sense? Punish kids who have no choice in the matter in an attempt to stop recruiting? Maybe those students should take a page out of the division fiasco’s book and try to appeal.

And maybe they will, but if they do, then what’s stopping little Suzie from appealing?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Let little Suzie appeal so the AIA can see her case specifically.

The rule is too broad. Transfers happen for all kinds of reasons and should be treated on a case-to-case basis. So let them all appeal so the AIA can handle it case-by-case.

What I don’t understand is how every time the AIA tries to fix something, they seem to make it worse. And I understand they have a lot of people that they have to deal with and try to please. They are never going to make everyone happy; I get that. But everyone sit out half a season? Really?

It’s almost as if all of the AIA big-shots were crowded around a table, grumbling about pleasing everyone and trying to find a solution. “Well if instead of forcing some people to sit out a whole year and some not at all, let’s just make them all sit out half a year!” And everyone else thought that was a great idea–greatest thing since pre-peeled oranges.

Are you kidding me? This compromise accomplished about as much as the Emu War of 1932. Actually that’s offensive to emus, who gained freedom from Australia after a month of flying feathers.

The AIA did what only it can do: replace a simple rule with a confusing one that doesn’t really fix anything.