The long-standing friendly relationship between the Arizona Interscholastic Association and the Arizona Coaches Association could be tested by a recent AIA Executive Board decision.
The board voted Nov. 15 to enforce a resolution that disallows playing all-star games during the school year.
The decision forced the Arizona Coaches Association to cancel three all-star games. One was an all-star volleyball clash scheduled for Nov. 26 at American West Arena in Phoenix. The other two were football games -- one for Class 5A-4A and the other for 1A-3A set for Dec. 30 at Glendale Community College.
However, the Arizona Football Coaches Association is expected to meet this week and decide whether to go ahead with plans to play the football games in December. The other option would be to continue to play all-star games in the summer as they have been in past years.
If the AFCA votes to play the football games in December, it would mark the first time the coaches have outright challenged the AIA.
For years, coaches have wanted to change the all-star games from summer months to the end of the regular season, mostly due to low attendance and participation by prep athletes.
When the all-star football games are actually played, usually in July or August, some athletes don't participate because they have summer jobs, are on vacations or their college recruiters ask them not to play and risk injury. Also, many are not in the physical shape or condition they were in during the season.
Previous all-star games have been played in Flagstaff, Tucson, Thatcher, Prescott and for the past five years, in Casa Grande. The ACA's five-year contract with Casa Grande expired this year.
In the late 1980s, when the games were bounced off the campus of Northern Arizona University to make way for Cardinals training camp, there was talk of playing the football game in Payson. That idea died for lack of dormitory housing and a playing site that could hold thousands of spectators.
According to AFCA President Tim McBurney, playing the all-star games at the end of the regular season would give athletes more opportunities to be recruited by colleges.
While most big-school coaches favor moving the games to the regular seasons, there are small-school coaches who oppose because many of their athletes play multiple sports and those games would create conflicts.