So, I was doing a little tinkering and decided to see if I could project what the AIA realignment might look like for football starting in 2011. (My first attempt ignored the fact that regions are being done away with in favor of sections – I have since updated this to remedy that oversight.)
To do this exercise, I used the current enrollment figures as listed at the AIA website. Now, of course, there’s going to be movement, but given that the initial placement and subsequent placement appeals process will take place beginning Oct. 18, it’s not going to be far off.
To wit, what we do know is that there will be six divisions for football – Divisions 1 – 5, with Division 6 being strictly 8-man football.
We also know that there are going to be approximately 40 teams in each of the first five divisions, or close to that number. We also know that each division will have three sections.
So, I went through this, keeping in mind not only enrollment but also attempting to preserve region groupings by location wherever possible. There were some assumptions that had to be made on which schools would petition up or down, but some of those were relatively easy based on the schools’ past histories. Schools that appealed their placements are noted with a + or – next to their number indicating they petitioned up or down. An (F) next to a school indicates the team usually plays a freelance schedule but would otherwise be placed in that division/sectionals.
|Division 1||39 teams||Division 2||39 teams||Division 3||39 teams||Division 4||38 teams||Division 5||35 teams||Division 6||35 teams|
|Horizon||2311||Vista Grande||1800||Catalina||1404||Round Valley||514 +||Baboquivari||278||Cibecue||107|
|Desert Mountain||2339||Nogales||1821||Sahuarita||1412||Alchesay||709||Pusch Ridge||299||Superior||142|
|Dobson||3019||Flowing Wells||1825||Higley||1418||Snowflake||712||San Carlos||334||Rock Point||142|
|Mesa Mt. View||3225||Cienega||1834||Amphitheater||1450||Ganado||744||Tombstone||341||Duncan||153|
|Mesa||3639||CDO||1838||Palo Verde||1484||Holbrook||752||Miami||353||Ft. Thomas||159|
|Red Mountain||3556||Marana||1877||Campo Verde||1500||Show Low||820||San Manuel||368||Joseph City||163|
|Westwood||2874||Ironwood Ridge||1913||Queen Creek||1700||Winslow||824||Morenci||390||Rough Rock||180|
|Desert Ridge||2397||Pueblo||1960||Poston Butte||1725||Window Rock||842||Benson||414||Veritas Prep||191|
|Mesquite||3451||Marana Mt. View||1964||Combs||1735||Payson||848||Thatcher||429||Pima||215|
|Gilbert||3127||Marcos de Niza||1965||Sahuaro||1750||Monument Valley||890||Willcox||443||Salt River||238|
|Highland||3097||Desert View||2090||Catalina Foothills||1759||Blue Ridge||914||Santa Cruz||504||Shonto Prep (F)||134|
|Corona del Sol||2522||Rincon/University||2116||Apache Junction||1764||Chinle||1058|
|West Valley||Northwest||Skyline||Grand Canyon||Western Sky||South|
|Carl Hayden||2277||Sunrise Mountain||1786 +||Shadow Ridge||1500||Sedona Red Rock||523 +||Arizona Lutheran||185 +||Patagonia||91|
|Central||2265||Liberty||1805||Sierra Linda||1535||Parker||527 +||Westwind Prep||293||Gilbert Christian||121|
|St. Mary's||778 +||Copper Canyon||1921||Mohave||1536||Wickenburg||785||Phoenix Christian||303||Ajo||139|
|Brophy||2506||Millennium||1990||Desert Edge||1549||Chino Valley||829||Yuma Catholic||327||St. David||142|
|North||2549||Barry Goldwater||2034||Buckeye||1599||River Valley||930||Antelope||350||Hayden||151|
|Westview||2317||Deer Valley||2039||Cactus||1627||Page||1044||Canyon State Academy||374||Valley Union||164|
|Alhambra||2905||Ironwood||2080||Verrado||1650||Estrella Foothills||1097||Valley Christian||399||Ray||169|
|Maryvale||2637||Sandra Day O'Connor||2125||Peoria||1659||Coconino||1204||Bourgade Catholic||402||Gila Bend||171|
|Trevor Browne||2902||Centennial||2144||Glendale||1680||Mingus||1235||Tonopah Valley||425||Tempe Prep||220|
|Mountain Ridge||2492||Willow Canyon||2175||Agua Fria||1714||Cortez||1278||San Tan Foothills||525||Tanque Verde||244|
|Valley Vista||2338||La Joya||2207||Bradshaw Mtn||1747||Youngker||1347||South Pointe||654 -||ASDB (F)||79|
|Cesar Chavez||2592||Tolleson||2238||Dysart||1775||Flagstaff||1443 -|
|North Canyon||2449||Boulder Creek||2253||Raymond S. Kellis||1775|
|Southeast||Desert West||East Sky||Desert Sky||Northeastern Sky||West|
|Desert Vista||2920||Apollo||1804||Notre Dame Prep||945 +||Seton Catholic||547 +||Williams||247||Fredonia||87|
|Mountain Pointe||2446||Shadow Mountain||1854||Maricopa||1473||Globe||641||Red Mesa||328||Ash Fork||88|
|Kofa||2513||Prescott||1938||Greenway||1548||Fountain Hills||824||St. Johns||352||Bagdad||137|
|San Luis||2461||Camelback||1958||Williams Field||1550||Coolidge||905||Northwest Christian||400||Salome||139|
|Hamilton||3345||Kingman||1974||Paradise Valley||1578||Empire||907||Sanders Valley||413||Joy Christian||150|
|Chandler||3226||Betty H. Fairfax||2000||Arcadia||1590||Florence||1046||Pinon||416||Beaver Dam||161|
|Basha||2455||South Mountain||2001||Thunderbird||1620||Rio Rico||1157||Greyhills Academy||428||Valley Lutheran||174|
|Casa Grande||3320||Gila Ridge||2025||Washington||1630||Santa Rita||1291||Many Farms||430||San Pasqual||175|
|Buena||2591||Chaparral||2037||Moon Valley||1688||Coronado||1317||North Pointe Prep||451||Mayer||185|
|Salpointe Catholic||1191 +||Lake Havasu||2060||McClintock||1778||Douglas||1346||Camp Verde||466||Rancho Solano Prep||215|
Division 1 is the easiest aside from Division 6, in that it’s all 5A-I schools plus the biggest 5A-II schools.
Division 2 contains the remainder of the 5A-II schools and the biggest 4A-I schools + Liberty.
Division 3 is the smaller 4A-I schools and the majority of the 4A-II schools.
Obviously the biggest change is in Division 4, which was the old 3A Conference. However, if you looked at the previous conference listing, you had to know that was going to have the biggest set of changes. For one, the current 3A Conference only has 28 teams, while the 4A and 5A conferences have over 60 each! For another, 7 teams will be added to the division that have never played there before. Sedona, Parker, Round Valley, and Seton all are playing up since the estimated cutoff is 600 students.
Division 5 is pretty much unchanged since it was all 2A to begin with. I seriously considered moving Round Valley (514) to D5 but then considered that RV competes well in 3A anyway. However, given that South Pointe recently canceled their season for lack of players, and Santa Cruz and San Tan Foothills have low enrollments, those three had to be moved down to D5. Arizona Lutheran, however, has always “played up” and they continue to do so in D5.
Division 6 (8-man) was the biggest headache. Trying to map out disparate locations for the smallest schools in the state was no joy, but I think I figured out where teams should be placed. Some assumptions – Pima, Tempe Prep, Hayden, and Ray all move “back” to D6, while Rough Rock becomes a new entry to D6 along with newcomers Gilbert Christian and Rancho Solano Prep.
Could it be better? Sure, but what I’ve mapped out is pretty kosher, plus it’s feasible for most schools’ travel budgets too. Of course, not everyone’s travel budget will be nice (Rock Point, Fredonia, Beaver Dam), but then again, when you live in the very corners of the state, you’re going to have some travel nightmares.
Do I think that the AIA will consider this? Normally, I would say no, but the scary thing is – it’s actually attainable AND reasonable. It’s not exclusionary, it actually does depend on several schools petitioning up or down (so it accounts for some small movement), and its sets itself up for growth.
Come Oct. 18, we’ll see what happens. The AIA will be releasing the initial Divisional placement at the Executive Board meeting that day, with the appeals set to be heard from Oct. 19 – 25. The preliminary placements will be announced on Nov. 2, and the final placement will be on Nov. 15. Then the whole process starts over again as sectionals are created (Dec. 6), appealed (Dec. 7 – Jan.6), and finalized (Jan. 18).