The AIA and Their Lame Powerpoints System

From time to time I will make public statements in opposition to the use of Power Points by the AIA as a method of determining playoff teams and seeding.

I have, in years past, posted several summaries of previous seasons’ rankings, complete with analysis and suggestions for improvement. However, it occurred to me last season to take a different approach.

A very intelligent reader to the message boards (“sprinkler”) posted the following:

You must have Human intervention with brains that are capable of understanding that regardless of what powerpoints say–team a is better than team b by a longshot. I can give you example after example since the inception
of powerpoints where teams have gotten the shaft and undeserving teams have received a much higher seed and sometimes even a playoff spot when on the field or court it was completely undeserved.

Last season I did an analysis of all 50 states’ high school athletic associations to see how they determine football playoffs. Only three states were inconclusive in their stated methods (Florida, Texas, and Hawaii) for playoff determination. Of the remaining 47, only 16 use powerpoints, and of those 16, only THREE reside West of the Mississippi River (Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota). All the others rely on qualification (top 2/3/4 finishers in a division or conference) or selection (committee selection) methods, or some combination of both.

This analysis suggests that the idea of powerpoints is both A) an East Coast idea, and B) behind the times. The Deep South is known for its football, and only Louisiana uses powerpoints – Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, etc. all use qualification or selection. California, a mecca of high school football, uses a committee selection method.

It would behoove the AIA to at least consider creating a committee with the sole task to determine playoff qualifiers outside of automatic sectional winners and seeding for playoff brackets.

Another AIA Sectional Followup

The AIA released today the teams that appealed their division placements. Surprisingly there were only four for football. Unsurprisingly, three of them were Notre Dame, Salpointe, and St. Mary’s.

However, the fourth one was odd – Tucson Santa Rita decided to appeal up to D2 from D4.

To me, this makes no sense. A D4 Southern sectional that includes Tucson-area schools Sabino (who didn’t appeal), Palo Verde, Empire, and Rio Rico would seem to be a good fit for Santa Rita – for sure an easier path to the playoffs.

Instead, Santa Rita opted for the massive D2 Sonoran sectional which now will include Salpointe, CDO, Cienega, and Ironwood Ridge.

If it’s travel times they’re doing it for, maybe that makes sense. The D4 sectional would have also included trips to Safford, Florence, Globe, and Fountain Hills. The Safford trip is probably the most daunting of them all since Safford is the only D4 school in Southeastern Arizona (Douglas is D3).

In any case, given that information, I’ve updated the sectional projections now to include the new appeals. I’m 99% confident that this will end up being the final version the AIA comes out with, and 100% confident that if any changes are made, it will involve less than 8 teams switching sectionals.

Teams with a * next to their enrollment numbers indicate the school appealed to the listed division.

Division 1teams = 39 Division 2teams = 42 Division 3teams = 39 Division 4teams = 35 Division 5teams = 39 Division 6teams = 32 
East ValleySonoranKinoNortheastSoutheastEast
St. Mary's602 *Santa Rita1115 *Amphitheater1323Ganado597Baboquivari275Cibecue75
Carl Hayden2255Salpointe Catholic1150 *Douglas1379Alchesay608Pusch Ridge279Rock Point126
Central2301Cholla1734Catalina1382Holbrook689Miami314Ft. Thomas132
Desert Mountain2352Catalina Foothills1736Williams Field1382Tuba City708San Manuel350Superior138
North2416Canyon del Oro1746Higley1441Window Rock728Tanque Verde355Mogollon150
Pinnacle2438Sahuaro1771Campo Verde1500Snowflake739Morenci368Joseph City154
Desert Ridge2517Flowing Wells1775Sahuarita1502Show Low777Tombstone380Duncan161
Brophy2532Pueblo1855Apache Junction1614Payson788Benson380Salt River164
Skyline2649Ironwood Ridge1879Casa Grande1650Winslow792Thatcher400Pima207
Westwood2923Marana1953Vista Grande1655Blue Ridge876Bisbee407Veritas Prep228
Mesa3334Marana Mt. View1964Nogales1704Monument Valley912Willcox422Shonto Prep (F)142
Mesa Mt. View3369Cienega2048Queen Creek1711Chinle1099San Carlos433
Red Mountain3442Rincon/University2072Poston Butte1725
Desert View2119
West ValleyCentralSkylineWestern CanyonWestern SkySouth
Tolleson2195Notre Dame Prep919 *Cactus1429North Pointe Prep490Arizona Lutheran187Patagonia73
Kofa2263Bradshaw Mountain1731Youngker1434Parker530Phoenix Christian223Rancho Solano Prep80
Valley Vista2286Shadow Mountain1749Verrado1454South Pointe586Tempe Prep232Ajo134
Mountain Ridge2355Sunnyslope1807Desert Edge1496Wickenburg720Westwind Prep257St. David143
Boulder Creek2374Cactus Shadows1827Shadow Ridge1500Chino Valley812Yuma Catholic264Gila Bend148
North Canyon2397Prescott1858Sunrise Mountain1611River Valley878Canyon State Academy304Valley Union154
Sandra Day O'Connor2413Barry Goldwater1879Glendale1639Page1012Antelope305Gilbert Christian155
Westview2514Marcos de Niza1897Yuma1650Estrella Foothills1060Valley Christian329San Pasqual155
Cibola2515McClintock1908Dysart1651Buckeye1206Northwest Christian364Ray171
Maryvale2581Camelback1937Agua Fria1654Cortez1225Tonopah Valley370Valley Lutheran190
San Luis2616Deer Valley1956Liberty1660Mingus1260Bourgade Catholic406ASDB (F)52
Alhambra2690Perry2114Peoria1682Coronado1295Santa Cruz439Hayden125
Trevor Browne2808Chaparral2127Copper Canyon1708San Tan Foothills475
SoutheastDesert WestNorthernDesert SkyNortheastern SkyWest
Buena2222Betty H. Fairfax1814Saguaro1437Seton Catholic542Rough Rock166Fredonia84
Sunnyside2313Apollo1842Tempe1443Globe555Williams237Ash Fork91
Basha2320Raymond S. Kellis1843Sierra Linda1535Fountain Hills753Red Mesa320Orme114
Corona del Sol2390La Joya1860Coconino1537Safford804Sanders Valley338Joy Christian114
Mesquite2452Gila Ridge1867Moon Valley1548Florence833Scottsdale Christian342Salome135
Mountain Pointe2648South Mountain1873Mohave1551Coolidge844St. Johns342Bagdad138
Gilbert2763Independence1937Thunderbird1561Empire1042Greyhills Academy375Beaver Dam144
Desert Vista2929Lake Havasu1956Greenway1600Combs1140Many Farms409Mayer163
Highland2957Ironwood1989Paradise Valley1603Rio Rico1236Pinon423PDSD (F)59
Tucson3021Kingman2059Maricopa1612Sabino1253Round Valley445South Ridge~180
Dobson3081Centennial2118Flagstaff1641Palo Verde1255Camp Verde446
Chandler3191Willow Canyon2159Arcadia1680Hopi455
Hamilton3431Cesar Chavez2169Washington1702Sedona Red Rock489

Sectional followup

After considering a lot of discussion surrounding some of the appeals (see the previous post) and looking at the way the sectionals are currently arranging, I really have some issues that I’m trying to work through.

One of them is the obvious appeals for the four major Catholic schools: Seton Catholic, Notre Dame Prep, St. Mary’s and Salpointe Catholic. All four are currently in D4 due to enrollment numbers.

Notre Dame is most likely only appealing up one division (from D4 to D3). Seton, in the last 4 years, has appealed up to 4A-II, so if they continue that trend, they too will appeal to D3.

St. Mary’s and Salpointe have historically appealed all the way to the highest division to play. Both schools have a very competitive history, with each owning a couple of Region titles, and both are usually playoff teams.

However, with the new divisional and sectional breakdowns, it might make more sense for St. Mary’s and Salpointe to take the path of Notre Dame and Seton and only appeal up to D3. (If that happens, look for Vista Grande to appeal up to D2 to play with Casa Grande, and Sabino to appeal up to D3 as well.) There are several benefits to playing in D3 – competition, travel times, and in some cases a renewed rivalry.

For example, Salpointe would play in the Kino (Southern) sectional along with other Southern Arizona high schools Amphi (a historical rival dating back to the 1950’s), Sabino, Catalina, Douglas, Sahuarita, and Nogales. Seton Catholic would also be placed in the Kino sectional as well. The travel times for the remainder of the section (Williams Field, Tempe, Vista Grande, Campo Verde, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, and Poston Butte) are not too much of a stretch. St. Mary’s would play in the Skyline (Western) sectional along with West Valley schools Cactus, Desert Edge, Liberty and Peoria. Notre Dame would be placed in the East Sky (Northcentral/Eastern) sectional along with Saguaro.

Already many of the Catholic HS sports are classified as D3 or D2 in some cases. Arguments could be made to move these four to D2, but of them, only St. Mary’s and Salpointe would seriously consider it – the Salpointe AD has stated that he’d prefer all his sports to be in the same division, even though all appeals are on a sport-by-sport basis. If the majority are already in D3, it’d make it easier for him if he just based his appeal on that and moved everything to D3. If he wants absolutely no travel times, an all Tucson region in D2 might be the ticket.

On a personal note, I’d love to see these schools all compete in D4. Seton has a history already with the schools in D4 (the old 3A conference), and it would be no stretch to include Notre Dame, Seton, and St. Mary’s in the Western Canyon (Western) sectional, which would pit them against the perennial West powers Chino Valley and Wickenburg. On the Southern side of the fence, Salpointe staying home in D4 would cause Sabino to stay home as well, matching up several Tucson-area schools in that sectional (Sabino, Santa Rita, Palo Verde, Empire, and Rio Rico) along with Salpointe. The travel times there would not be bad either, with the remainder of the sectional including Florence, Coolidge, Globe and Fountain Hills, Safford being the farthest travel time for any school. (Yes, there would be a little perverse pleasure in seeing the horror on the faces of the Rim Country AD’s who would know that the path to the championship was no longer guaranteed from the old 3A East schools, but I digress…)

Realistically though, I believe that Salpointe and St. Mary’s will end up in D2, with Notre Dame playing D3 and Seton staying D4. Call it a gut feeling.

An Updated Projection of AIA Realignment

On Monday 10/18/10, the AIA released its Initial Placement (IP) list, where they classify all the members schools by division for football.

We already knew that there would be 6 divisions for football – five 11-man and one 8-man. Initially, I had tried to create a projected realignment based on previous enrollment numbers, with the understanding that there would be some changes because some schools would see movement due to increased or decreased enrollments.

After reviewing the IP and comparing to my initial projections, I wasn’t far off. In my initial projections, I had Divisions 1-3 with 39 teams each, D4 with 38, and D5-6 with 35. The IP has D1 with 40, D2 with 39, D3 with 40, D4 with 36, D5 with 39, and D6 with 31. And remember, I’m only counting football schools, even though the IP encompassed more than that – like Xavier Girls Prep and Bowie High School, for example.

Some highlights – Tolleson, Boulder Creek, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Pinnacle are all D1 instead of my projected D2, while Casa Grande, Horizon, and Cesar Chavez slipped to D2 from a projected D1. Nogales, Sunrise Mountain, Copper Canyon, Yuma, Liberty, and Vista Grande dropped to D3 from a projected D2 – Liberty I knew that might happen, but I was trying to even out the sectionals so I bumped up Liberty to projected D2. Tempe, Douglas, Youngker, Coconino, and Flagstaff came in at D3 also, though I projected them at D4. North Pointe Prep and South Pointe also ended up at D4 instead of D5, but Sedona and Round Valley ended up dropping to D5. No real surprises in D6, though I had projected Tempe Prep, Tanque Verde, and Hayden to end up there.

Overall, out of 225 football schools, I nailed 190 schools (84.4%) – not bad considering I was working with data over two years old.

Now the other issue is to determine who’s going to appeal their placements. We know for sure that the following schools will appeal their placements: Salpointe Catholic (D4), St. Mary’s (D4), Notre Dame Prep (D4), and Seton Catholic (D4). I am projecting that the following schools will also appeal their placements: Round Valley (D5), Yuma (D3), and possibly Sabino (D4).

The AIA has specific rules for appealing placements (8.1.10), which include geography, number of athletic programs at the school, last four years of student enrollment (to determine if the enrollment is varying wildly), and competitive history over the last four years. (The AIA made it a point this year to note that teams are no longer allowed to appeal down a division, and driving time instead of mileage will be the main factor for geography.) In these cases, the AIA would be hard pressed NOT to grant the appeals of the first four, and the latter three would be petitioning based on travel times (RV, Yuma) and competitive history (Sabino). Lastly, and this is important, schools are being allowed to appeal placements on a sport-by-sport basis. That means, for example, that a school that appeals a football placement doesn’t have to factor into their appeal their basketball team too.

Some people on the forums have made specific comments regarding why certain teams should be moved up or down. Some of these comments are pretty thoughtful (“while total enrollment is a factor in a quality football program, it matters less than people think. Dobson is the 6th largest school in AZ … and would likely struggle if they played Fairfax”), others show a distinct lack of intelligence (“part of the reason [Salpointe] play[s] in the highest division is so they don’t have to play too many of the good Tucson teams and lose.”)

That said, here’s an updated look at the projected sectional alignments now that we know where teams will be placed in each division.

Division 1teams = 40 Division 2teams = 39 Division 3teams = 40 Division 4teams = 36 Division 5teams = 39 Division 6teams = 31 
East ValleySonoranKinoNortheastSoutheastEast
Carl Hayden2255Cholla1734Williams Field1382Ganado597Hayden125Cibecue75
Central2301Catalina Foothills1736Tempe1443Alchesay608Baboquivari275Rock Point126
Desert Mountain2352Canyon del Oro1746Amphitheater1323Holbrook689Pusch Ridge279Ft. Thomas132
North2416Sahuaro1771Douglas1379Tuba City708Miami314Superior138
Desert Ridge2517Flowing Wells1775Catalina1382Window Rock728San Manuel350Mogollon150
Brophy2532Pueblo1855Higley1441Snowflake739Tanque Verde355Joseph City154
Skyline2649Ironwood Ridge1879Campo Verde1500Show Low777Morenci368Duncan161
Gilbert2763Marana1953Sahuarita1502Payson788Tombstone380Salt River164
Westwood2923Marana Mt. View1964Apache Junction1614Winslow792Benson380Pima207
Highland2957Casa Grande1965Vista Grande1655Blue Ridge876Thatcher400Veritas Prep228
Mesa3334Cienega2048Nogales1704Monument Valley912Bisbee407Shonto Prep (F)142
Mesa Mt. View3369Rincon/University2072Queen Creek1711Chinle1099Willcox422
Red Mountain3442Desert View2119Poston Butte1725San Carlos433
West ValleyNorthwestSkylineWestern CanyonWestern SkySouth
Tolleson2195Cactus Shadows1827Cactus1429North Pointe Prep490Arizona Lutheran187Patagonia73
Kofa2263La Joya1860Youngker1434Parker530Phoenix Christian223Rancho Solano Prep80
Valley Vista2286Barry Goldwater1879Verrado1454South Pointe586Tempe Prep232Ajo134
Mountain Ridge2355Marcos de Niza1897Desert Edge1496Wickenburg720Westwind Prep257St. David143
Boulder Creek2374McClintock1908Shadow Ridge1500Chino Valley812Yuma Catholic264Gila Bend148
North Canyon2397Deer Valley1956Sunrise Mountain1611River Valley878Canyon State Academy304Valley Union154
Sandra Day O'Connor2413Ironwood1989Glendale1639Page1012Antelope305Gilbert Christian155
Pinnacle2438Perry2114Yuma1650Estrella Foothills1060Valley Christian329San Pasqual Valley155
Westview2514Centennial2118Dysart1651Buckeye1206Northwest Christian364Ray171
Cibola2515Willow Canyon2159Agua Fria1654Cortez1225Tonopah Valley370Valley Lutheran190
Maryvale2581Horizon2160Liberty1660Mingus1260Bourgade Catholic406ASDB (F)52
San Luis2616Cesar Chavez2169Peoria1682Coronado1295Santa Cruz439
Alhambra2690Millennium2184Copper Canyon1708San Tan Foothills475
Trevor Browne2808Bradshaw Mountain1731
SoutheastDesert WestEast SkyDesert SkyNortheastern SkyWest
St. Mary's602Shadow Mountain1749Notre Dame Prep919Seton Catholic542Rough Rock166Fredonia84
Salpointe Catholic1150Sunnyslope1807Saguaro1437Globe555Williams237Ash Fork91
Buena2222Betty H. Fairfax1814Sierra Linda1535Fountain Hills753Red Mesa320Joy Christian114
Sunnyside2313Apollo1842Coconino1537Safford804Sanders Valley338Orme114
Basha2320Raymond S. Kellis1843Moon Valley1548Florence833Scottsdale Christian342Salome135
Corona del Sol2390Prescott1858Mohave1551Coolidge844St. Johns342Bagdad138
Mesquite2452Gila Ridge1867Thunderbird1561Empire1042Greyhills Academy375Beaver Dam144
Mountain Pointe2648South Mountain1873Greenway1600Santa Rita1115Many Farms409Mayer163
Desert Vista2929Independence1937Paradise Valley1603Combs1140Pinon423South Ridgeapprox. 200
Tucson3021Camelback1937Maricopa1612Rio Rico1236Round Valley445PDSD (F)59
Dobson3081Lake Havasu1956Flagstaff1641Sabino1253Camp Verde446
Chandler3191Kingman2059Arcadia1680Palo Verde1255Hopi455
Hamilton3431Chaparral2127Washington1702Sedona Red Rock489

Looking at this, I see a couple of things jump out at me –
D1 throws Salpointe and Sunnyside in with Desert Vista, Mountain Pointe, Basha, Chandler and Hamilton in the Southeast. Easily the toughest sectional in the state. The East Valley is a close second, with all the Mesa and Gilbert schools along with Brophy and Central. West Valley brings up the rear with Maryvale, Boulder Creek, O’Connor, Pinnacle, Mountain Ridge, and Westview grouped together.
[EDIT: After a good suggestion, I moved Kofa, Cibola, and San Luis to the West Valley, St. Mary’s, Mesquite, and Dobson to the Southeast, and North and Carl Hayden to the East Valley. While Carl Hayden is inconvenienced a little more, the travel time saved by the Yuma schools makes it the correct decision.]

Over in D2, you’ve got Millennium, Centennial, Marcos de Niza, Cactus Shadows, Horizon and Perry in the Northwest, and the Sonoran is an all-Tucson sectional + Casa Grande, who may turn around and appeal up if Buena and Sunnyside appeal down from D1. The Desert West groups Kellis, Apollo, Prescott, Lake Havasu, and Chaparral.

D3 was the biggest headache to try and group, and I’m still not satisfied with the outcome. On the one hand, the Kino sectional is pretty tough with Williams Field, Amphi, Apache Junction, Queen Creek and Poston Butte who is tearing up the competition in the Independent schedules this season. On the other hand, the East Sky is also no slouch with Notre Dame, Saguaro, Thunderbird, Greenway, Arcadia, and Washington. The poor Skyline sectional groups Liberty, Cactus, Bradshaw Mountain, Desert Edge and Peoria with a bunch of mediocre teams like Glendale, Dysart, and Agua Fria.
[EDIT: Again, noticing some disparity in travel times, I moved Vista Grande to Kino, Saguaro to East Sky, and Yuma to Skyline.]

The path to a D4 championship no longer goes through the Rim Country, it now goes through the South if Sabino stays in D4. Try navigating a gauntlet of Seton Catholic, Florence, Fountain Hills, Coolidge, Empire, Sabino, Santa Rita, and Palo Verde, and the latter two are not exactly easy outs by any stretch (even though both are having down years this year). The Rim schools at least get the Rez schools to beat up on, the South gets… Globe and Rio Rico. Ouch. Wickenburg in the West now has to contend with Mingus and Buckeye, in addition to the usual suspects of Chino Valley and Estrella Foothills and occasionally Parker.
[EDIT: Switched Seton Catholic with Cortez from Western Canyon to Desert Sky – Seton is farther south in Phoenix than Cortez, so that made way more sense, though I do expect Seton along with Rio Rico to appeal up to D3.]

D5 was easily no contest. Sedona Red Rock and Santa Cruz, dropping down from 3A/D4 to D5, will at least benefit from the change in competition. The Southeast will continue to have its hands full with Willcox, Bisbee, Thatcher, Miami, Pusch Ridge Christian, and Morenci leading the way. The Western Sky once again groups most of the private schools like Arizona Lutheran, Phoenix Christian, Yuma Catholic, Valley Christian, and Bourgade Catholic, along with Canyon State Academy and Tempe Prep. The Northeastern Sky will have some new faces as Scottsdale Christian gets to take on St. Johns, Williams, and Red Mesa. Round Valley, if it stays in D5, makes this a more competitive sectional than at first glance.
[EDIT: Checking travel times and finding Sedona-Yuma was an hour longer than Sedona-Red Mesa HS, I swapped Sedona and Northwest Christian.]

Finally, D6 really doesn’t have much new to it other than Pima and Ray come back to 8-man football, and D6 welcomes Gilbert Christian and Rancho Solano Prep to the South to face perennial powers St. David, Valley Union, and Valley Lutheran.

Projected AIA Realignment for 2011-2013

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 139 teams Division 239 teams Division 339 teams Division 438 teams Division 535 teams Division 635 teams
East ValleySonoranKinoNortheastSoutheastEast
Horizon2311Vista Grande1800Catalina1404Round Valley514 +Baboquivari278Cibecue107
Desert Mountain2339Nogales1821Sahuarita1412Alchesay709Pusch Ridge299Superior142
Dobson3019Flowing Wells1825Higley1418Snowflake712San Carlos334Rock Point142
Mesa Mt. View3225Cienega1834Amphitheater1450Ganado744Tombstone341Duncan153
Mesa3639CDO1838Palo Verde1484Holbrook752Miami353Ft. Thomas159
Red Mountain3556Marana1877Campo Verde1500Show Low820San Manuel368Joseph City163
Skyline2412Perry1891Cholla1645Tuba City822Bisbee388Mogollon172
Westwood2874Ironwood Ridge1913Queen Creek1700Winslow824Morenci390Rough Rock180
Desert Ridge2397Pueblo1960Poston Butte1725Window Rock842Benson414Veritas Prep191
Mesquite3451Marana Mt. View1964Combs1735Payson848Thatcher429Pima215
Gilbert3127Marcos de Niza1965Sahuaro1750Monument Valley890Willcox443Salt River238
Highland3097Desert View2090Catalina Foothills1759Blue Ridge914Santa Cruz504Shonto Prep (F)134
Corona del Sol2522Rincon/University2116Apache Junction1764Chinle1058
West ValleyNorthwestSkylineGrand CanyonWestern SkySouth
Carl Hayden2277Sunrise Mountain1786 +Shadow Ridge1500Sedona Red Rock523 +Arizona Lutheran185 +Patagonia91
Central2265Liberty1805Sierra Linda1535Parker527 +Westwind Prep293Gilbert Christian121
St. Mary's778 +Copper Canyon1921Mohave1536Wickenburg785Phoenix Christian303Ajo139
Brophy2506Millennium1990Desert Edge1549Chino Valley829Yuma Catholic327St. David142
North2549Barry Goldwater2034Buckeye1599River Valley930Antelope350Hayden151
Westview2317Deer Valley2039Cactus1627Page1044Canyon State Academy374Valley Union164
Alhambra2905Ironwood2080Verrado1650Estrella Foothills1097Valley Christian399Ray169
Maryvale2637Sandra Day O'Connor2125Peoria1659Coconino1204Bourgade Catholic402Gila Bend171
Trevor Browne2902Centennial2144Glendale1680Mingus1235Tonopah Valley425Tempe Prep220
Mountain Ridge2492Willow Canyon2175Agua Fria1714Cortez1278San Tan Foothills525Tanque Verde244
Valley Vista2338La Joya2207Bradshaw Mtn1747Youngker1347South Pointe654 -ASDB (F)79
Cesar Chavez2592Tolleson2238Dysart1775Flagstaff1443 -
North Canyon2449Boulder Creek2253Raymond S. Kellis1775
SoutheastDesert WestEast SkyDesert SkyNortheastern SkyWest
Desert Vista2920Apollo1804Notre Dame Prep945 +Seton Catholic547 +Williams247Fredonia87
Mountain Pointe2446Shadow Mountain1854Maricopa1473Globe641Red Mesa328Ash Fork88
Cibola2355Independence1866Saguaro1476Safford793Scottsdale Christian341Orme128
Kofa2513Prescott1938Greenway1548Fountain Hills824St. Johns352Bagdad137
San Luis2461Camelback1958Williams Field1550Coolidge905Northwest Christian400Salome139
Hamilton3345Kingman1974Paradise Valley1578Empire907Sanders Valley413Joy Christian150
Chandler3226Betty H. Fairfax2000Arcadia1590Florence1046Pinon416Beaver Dam161
Basha2455South Mountain2001Thunderbird1620Rio Rico1157Greyhills Academy428Valley Lutheran174
Casa Grande3320Gila Ridge2025Washington1630Santa Rita1291Many Farms430San Pasqual175
Buena2591Chaparral2037Moon Valley1688Coronado1317North Pointe Prep451Mayer185
Salpointe Catholic1191 +Lake Havasu2060McClintock1778Douglas1346Camp Verde466Rancho Solano Prep215
Tucson2974Yuma2110Sunnyslope1784Tempe1347Hopi468PDSD (F)74
Sunnyside2264Pinnacle2174Cactus Shadows1794Sabino1374

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).