At the conclusion of almost every sports season the past school year, coaches have emerged complaining about the Division/Section configuration that replaced the Conference/Region alignment used for decades.
Most recently, some small-town Arizona volleyball coaches, including Payson High coach Arnold Stonebrink, banded together to petition the Arizona Interscholastic Association for changes in the format.
Stonebrink says Snowflake coach Alan Ramage contacted him asking for his input on configuration changes a committee of coaches was going to suggest to the AIA.
Among the coaches’ suggestions is that of the 51 teams in the small school Division III — in which Payson is aligned — 24 teams receive state berths rather than the current 15.
Also, coaches are asking a new section be created in Division III, which currently has just three sections. That would reduce the size of each section that now houses 14 to 16 teams.
Also coaches would like their teams to play at least 14 games against schools aligned in their section.
Last season, only four of the Lady Horn volleyball games were against schools aligned in Payson’s Section I.
Coaches also desire that the 14 section games be against 14 different schools, in effect doing away with home and away games against the same team.
“All suggestions, I am greatly in favor of,” said Stonebrink. “We’ll see if the suggestions get implemented.”
Since high schools schedule in two-year blocks, any changes made will not take place until the 2013-2014 school year.
Apparently the AIA Scheduling Committee has heard the coaches’ complaints.
On May 23, the committee announced a set of proposals designed to solve the problems associated with the abolishment of the regional play that for years was a huge part of prep sports.
In the scheduling committee’s proposal to rectify some of the problems created by the reconfiguration, there will more sections, each formed by geography, in each of the five divisions.
Computer scheduling will continue, but each team will play all the other schools in the same section.
Schools could also request their section chairman schedule games against non-section opponents.
If the proposal is accepted, a true sectional champion will be crowned based on a win-loss record.
Also, when coaches vote for all-section teams, they will have seen all the nominees play at least one time during the season.
Coaches contend seeing all the nominees play will be a more accurate portrayal of who the most deserving players are. Last year, coaches voted online for all-section and all-division honorees without having seen some of them play.
Also in the scheduling committee’s proposal is a suggestion to allow school and district officials from each division to decide how many sections they want, how many teams should be in each section and how to arrange sports schedules.
Rec Roundup Recreation Camp
Summer Recreation Camp is in full swing. Get those kids off the couch and away from the TV and video games. Registration will be by the week and the cost is $30 per child and includes lunch. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the camp takes place at Rim Country Middle School. Call Mary Wolf at (928) 474-5242, extension 7 for details.
PHS Volleyball Camp
Join Payson High School coaches and players for their annual summer volleyball camp, June 18-19 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the PHS Wilson Dome.
Camp is open for all players going into the fourth through eighth grades. Register at the Payson Parks & Recreation office in Green Valley Park, 1000 W. Country Club Drive, or online at www.paysonrimcountry.com. The cost is $30 per participant.
Payson Event Center
Friday Night Barrel Racing and Pole Bending 4D Jackpot with $250 added money to open takes place July 20, Aug. 24, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12 at Payson Event Center, located 1/2 mile south of town on Highway 87 across from Mazatzal Casino.
Books open at 5 p.m.; competition starts at 7:30 p.m.; time only events are from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and cost $3 per run with a one-minute time limit.
There is a $25 registration fee and a $5 arena fee; cash payout is 60 percent of total pot.
For more information on Payson Parks and Recreation programs, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 or visit www.paysonrimcountry.com.