Today: Feb 20 , 2020

Could AIA Cancel the State Wrestling Tournament Altogether?

11 February 2014  


AIA Associate Executive Director Chuck Schmidt said tonight in a phone interview that it would be irresponsible to offer assurances that the wrestling State Tournament will definitely be held.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) took the unprecedented step of postponing the State Sectional tournaments for wrestlers last week, citing a non-specific, non-MRSA skin infection that was affecting a number of wrestlers. In the memo to member schools  the AIA promised to provide an "update to the progress and logistics of the sectional and state wrestling tournaments by close of business Monday."

Today, the AIA did provide an update, stating, "The AIA is making every effort to have by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11, adequate direction from the above referenced [medical and public health officials, and experts within the national wrestling community] to make an informed decision whether to move forward with the post-season tournament as early as Friday, Feb. 14."

That statement suggests other questions, such as whether they are referring to sectionals or the State tournament. When asked, Brian Bolitho, the AIA Media Contact said that it referred to "...Post Season Tournaments in general." And Bolitho would not confirm that the State Tournament would definitely be held. 

Here is the thread of emails from Bolitho. (Phone numbers have been removed.)

Finally, a frustrated sounding Bolitho suggested speaking directly with Schmidt. 

In a late evening phone call, which Schmidt graciously answered, when asked if he could at least let the wrestlers know for certain that there is going to be a State tournament, he replied, "I can't say if there is or there is not. It would be irresponsible of me to say if there is or there is not. It's not up to me."

"We're gathering information," Schmidt continued. "We're trying to define the nature of the infection, determine how widespread this may be and what the incubation period is. We just don't know the incubation periods, the scope of the infection and how much it has spread."

Schmidt suggested that if people want to help, they need to answer the questions from the Maricopa Health Department as quickly and fully as possible. 

When asked if it were possible that State would be postponed until possibly March, he admitted it was possible, but it would depend on a variety of currently unknown logistics and protocols. 

As for wrestlers who might have scholarships dependent on the State wrestling tournament occurring, he replied, "I am sympathetic to their situation. However, I would rather have that as a concern, than have students facing a lifelong issue."