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Arizona high school winter sports competition postponed until January

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PHOENIX — Arizona’s high school sports governing body announced it would postpone winter athletics until at least the start of the year with rising coronavirus cases in the community.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association’s board voted to postpone the beginning of the season until Jan. 5, 2021.

“Delaying the start of the season will give our coaches and administrators time to implement safety protocols and put sports modifications in place,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a press release.

“Just like getting fall sports off the ground, doing things the right way will allow for our sports to continue.”

The postponement of winter sports affects basketball, wrestling and soccer.

The final day of competition, including play-in tournaments, would be Feb. 19, 2021.

According to the new guidelines, teams will be prohibited from participating in scrimmages, invitational tournaments, and regional tournaments or out of state competition during that time. At the start of the month, the AIA released updated recommended guidelines for winter sports returning to athletic activity, which are now required to be followed.

The AIA’s decision comes on the same day that Arizona health officials reported 4,123 new coronavirus cases and 19 additional deaths, marking the first daily report of more than 4,000 cases since July 14.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman earlier this week told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad that postponing winter sports would be one of several key mitigation strategies to keep Arizona schools open.

The board also decided to push back the first day of practice for spring sports from Feb. 8 to Feb. 15.

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