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Arizona high school sports federation raises participation fees

LISTEN: AIA Associate Executive Director Chuck Schmidt

PHOENIX — Arizona’s high school sports governing body has unveiled a
series of new fees to reduce a $519,000 budget shortfall from the last fiscal

The Arizona Republic reported that the fees have
caught many schools administrators off guard and they now must find a means to
pay for them.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), the governing body for high school sports in the state, announced the charges for the
coming school year in a memo sent to its 272 member schools June 11.

However, Chuck Schmidt, associate executive director of the AIA, said the announcement has actually been a longtime coming.

“This has been a discussion since about 2008,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Rob & Karie on Wednesday. “We have escalating costs in regards to insurance…and in addition to that, our legal costs, venue costs; it’s just getting more expensive.”

He added that the cost of general liability insurance for the next fiscal year alone could triple.

While “revenue sports” cost more to cover and host, Schmidt said the AIA is doing all it can to keep every sport alive in Arizona.

“I think the significant issue is you have revenue sports — and that’s primarily basketball and football in Arizona,” he explained. “Our goal is that opportunities continue in the non-revenue sports, like cross-country, track and field (and) badminton.”

The new structure took effect Tuesday and is the AIA executive board’s response
to rapidly rising costs, particularly those associated with maintaining its
stable of game officials and running annual state-championship tournaments.

Fees will range from $50 to $350 for qualifying teams wishing to enter
sectional or state tournaments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.