Faced with an immediate budget crisis, the Yuma Union High School District has informed the Arizona Interscholastic Association that its 5A schools will cease all sports travel for the rest of the 2009-2010 school year and beyond except for state tournaments.
YUHSD is expected to approve of the budget measure at a school board meeting Wednesday night.
That will create several scheduling holes for East Valley schools that have games vs. the Yuma schools -- a situation the 5A regions will address at a meeting on Thursday. Spring sports begin in earnest next week.
“The Yuma district made it clear to us they are not in a position to travel the remainder of the year and foreseeable future,” AIA executive director Dr. Harold Slemmer said. “It’s up to the schools who have scheduled Yuma to make changes. Or if nothing can be mutually agreed upon, a violation report is sent explaining why a school could not honor its (scheduling) contract. The school that does not honor the contract would have to forfeit the contest. It would be an AIA violation. The (AIA) board could sanction the school in violation, but given the reason I think the board would be sensitive to the situation.”
Slemmer hopes schools will be able to find solutions to the scheduling problems created by Yuma’s budget crisis.
“Yuma’s superintendent met with me and had some very good points, including the loss of school time,” Slemmer said. “I think this is the future. We’re going to have to look at scheduling more games closer to home and perhaps go to computer scheduling with the schools deciding on the variable they want.”
Mesa district athletic director Steve Hogen said schools are working on plugging holes created in football schedules for next year, which are many.
“We’re trying to put a band-aid on things for right now,” Hogen said. “There are other issues such as power points and state playoff berths that will be impacted. Those are things we need to look at fixing.”
Red Mountain and Dobson football teams were both scheduled to face Yuma schools in the fourth week of next season -- a situation that may easily be rectified by having the two Mesa schools face each other instead.
Other Valley schools faced with swapping out football games against a Yuma opponent next season are: Basha, Brophy, Chaparral, Desert Mountain, Horizon, Perry (2), Pinnacle, Skyline, Westwood, North Canyon, Carl Hayden and Tolleson.
Gilbert district athletic director Mark Cisterna doesn’t have much to deal with since Gilbert schools have only met Yuma schools this year in the postseason.
“You feel for the guys from Yuma sitting across the table from you, all of us do,” Cisterna said. “It’s a bad deal for their district. But this is something we all have to look at. Heck, you had a good game last night with Mountain View (boys) playing Cesar Chavez in basketball. Are we going to be seeing that much any more? I know we cut down on it some this year. But there may have to be more of it.”