The Arizona Interscholastic Association Legislative Council passed an amended proposal on Friday that delays computer scheduling until bugs in the computer model are worked out. But conferences will use many of the same parameters that are used by the computer.
In an effort to ease budgetary concerns and cut travel costs, conferences will be scheduling nonregion games against schools closer to home - even in the Phoenix metro area.
Two of the 5A regions - the Metro and Desert West - have requested to schedule their nonregion games against one another for proximity's sake.
That means, as expected, that the powerhouse Fiesta, Central and East Valley regions will fill almost all of their nonregion slates against each other.
"There are going to be a lot of great regular-season games every week," Mesa district athletic director Steve Hogen said. "Our options for nonleague aren't going to be many. The schedules for everyone on this side of town will be tough."
The new scheduling logic will also have ramifications in the power-point rankings, which are used to determine and seed state tournament qualifiers.
The decrease in crossover games for regions in the East Valley will make it more difficult to qualify four or five teams for state tournaments, as they have been.
Conferences will begin making schedules for the 2009-10 school year only, after which time computer scheduling will be revisited.
Computer scheduling takes the task of creating schedules away from district athletic directors and places it with the AIA, allowing the state organization to serve as the centralized site for all schedules and better facilitate the administration of and assigning of officials.
The computer model takes travel distances into account when assigning games, but also allows exceptions for schools that want to schedule rivalry games.
"We will continue to formalize and develop the process we've started," AIA assistant executive director Chuck Schmidt said. "This is still a tool that conferences can utilize. Many of our members are facing financial issues, so what things look like in June may well look different in September. This allows the conferences to go forward now and make schedules."
Another notable proposal that passed Friday was a basketball "mercy rule" similar to one used in California.
Beginning next year, once a team has a 30-point lead or more after three quarters of play, a running clock will be instituted for the remainder of the game. The only clock stoppages after a 30-point lead is attained will be for timeouts, injuries or technical fouls. The running clock will stop with one minute remaining and the contest will conclude using regulation timing rules.