Five things that will be remembered from Divisional Debacle 2015

Arizona Sports News online

By Jason Skoda-The angst created by the initial divisional placement by the Arizona Interscholastic Association has died down and the revised version went along way in doing getting that done.
It can flare up again any minute during a conversation with a coach, players or administrator.
Until all of this is completely settled, followed by the awkward football scheduling session, it is going to be angry talking point.
And when dealing with as many schools and all the sports programs someone is always going to be upset, and in this case, a lot of people will remain unsatisfied.
It’s part of the deal.
Here are five things that will leave a last impression three years down the line when this issue will crop up again.
1. The AIA listened.
Let’s face it hasn’t always been the case. Decisions were made without consent or taking feedback from the schools/coaches into serious consideration.
But this time, even if it was because it was the only move it could make, the AIA heard everyone’s concerns, checked into the problem, put it on hold and came back with a revised divisional placement.
More telling was what the AIA did with soccer. The initial placement had 44 in Division I, 83 in Division II and 43 in Division III. The soccer coaches went ballistic. They came together, fired off letters and emails to the AIA and a resolution was found on Wednesday.
The AIA announced it would add a fourth division during the winter session of soccer for boys and girls.
2. The emotional aspect.
Something that crossed my mind briefly was how important a Division I status can be to certain programs, but kind of glossed over the fact that programs like Mesa, Corona del Sol, Highland, Dobson have always been seen as big-time DI school.
And now they are not (at least until the appeals) in football.
We talked to one coach who said he was blindsided by the decision, assuming whatever ever the formula spit out, his program would remain in Division I.
Lo and behold the program was put in DII while all of the other sports programs at the school remained at Division I.
When he faced the players for the first time, and they wanted to know why they were DII, he was embarrassed to not have an answer. He said they were angry and upset, and had the right to be.
Then at the Desert Vista and Corona del Sol boys basketball game the Aztecs student body started chanting “We run Tukee” in the late stages of a Corona win and the DV crowd responded with “Division II football.”
It pretty much ended it all.
3. Vet everything.
For the second time, the AIA made an embarrassing move by putting out incorrect information matching the football playoff seeding fiasco in 2013.
Both times the formula was outsourced to a different entity or individual. They might do the work, but they don’t necessarily know what passes the eyeball test. A quick look at both would have told anyone slightly connected that something was wrong.
Maybe the AIA did and didn’t catch it, but the issues were so glaring that would be hard to believe.
Proof the work.
4. More questions.
Going back to the soccer issue. The coaches brought up the fact that the six-year record history on MaxPreps was hardly correct for each school if taken at face value of what is listed on each team’s home page.
During the 2011-12 season the Boulder Creek boys had a record of 3-1 on MaxPreps while Chaparral was 2-0 and Gilbert Classical was 0-5 to name just a few. Clearly, these schools played more than a handful of matches.
How were these handled? Many thought it was the source of the problem in the initial divisional placement.
AIA communications director Brian Bolitho said no and that the full records were used, but the soccer coaches were unsure for a long time.
5. Was this the last straw?
After so many missteps in recent years the gap between the AIA, the schools and followers of high school athletics is at an all-time.
Just about anybody and everybody who is involved with high school sports has a negative view about the AIA these days. Even the ones who never had an opinion essentially do now through osmosis because they are hearing all of the snipping and complaining surrounding the organization.
A lot of it is the AIA’s own doing, but some it is just people piling on the negative sentiment.
It’s never as bad as those affected make it out to be but there is no denying the overwhelming consensus is there has to be changes are needed.
Whether that means different people on the executive board or sports advisory committee and different ways of having their voice heard with some actual impact (like the soccer coaches accomplished) instead of feeling like they are being blown off.
At its worst the belief is a complete overhaul is in order even if that means breaking away from the organization.
There is a faction that wants it to happen. Like yesterday.
That’s a bit extreme, and it is hard to believe it will ever come to that, but it is one of the last impressions of the Divisional Debacle 2015.