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AIA cancels high school winter sports season

AIA pulls the plug on prep soccer, wrestling and basketball for 2021

TUCSON (KVOA) -- In a 5-4 vote on Friday the Arizona Interscholastic Association made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020-2021 Winter sports season. 

Winter sports had been on pause since late November. The AIA had set Martin Luther King Day (January 18) as the hoped upon date soccer, wrestling and basketball teams could begin full practices in anticipation for an eight-to-nine week season.

But the continued surge of COVID-19 cases within the state of Arizona was not going to make that possible.

Arizona currently has nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations.

The Sports Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC) recommended Winter sports not be played due to the fact that 93% of all Intensive Care Unit (ICU) hospital beds and 92% of all inpatient beds are in use.

This left concern that injured student-athletes might not be able to receive needed care due to the lack of beds or available medical professionals.

“Unfortunately, we cannot in good conscience recommend that students engage in a winter season under the current conditions,” said SMAC Committee Chair Dr. Wilson.

Tucson Unified School District was informed that the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board voted to cancel the high school winter sports season amid a continued surge in COVID-19 cases statewide.  Although this is disappointing for our athletes and community, we support the goal of keeping everyone healthy and helping to mitigate the spread of COVID.  Our district looks forward to a time when the vaccine is fully distributed and when all of our athletic, performing arts, extra-curricular and on-campus activities return and are fully up and running.


The winter sports season is the first full season to be shutdown as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Several area schools were ahead of the ultimate cancelation of the season as both Salpointe Catholic and Catalina Foothills had made the decision in mid-December that they would not field wrestling programs this year.

The initial onset of COVID-19 forced the state to shutter the 2020 spring sports campaign shortly after it began

Fall sports were a mishmash across the state. Football didn't begin until early October for some schools and many in Tucson played only 2-3 games before being shutdown again in late November.

State champions however were crowned in all the Fall sports.

The 2021 Spring sports season is scheduled to begin March 1, but that will be dependent upon statewide metrics improving.

Copyright 2021 News 4 Tucson. All rights reserved.

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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