The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board heard the Phoenix Christian girls basketball “hip-check” case on Tuesday, January 21st.
Phoenix Christian girl’s basketball coach, Tara Poovey, was seen on video January 2nd “hip-checking” Fort Thomas’ Jordan Juan after she completed a throw-in in front of the Phoenix Christian bench. The referee issued a technical foul but no further action was taken in the game. According to the AIA Board’s agency, the referee said he didn’t actually see the hip check.
Phoenix Christian Athletic Director Keith Baker presented the school’s case today in front of the board. He stated that Phoenix Christian removed coaching responsibility from the coach for three interscholastic contests and has implemented stipulations for the coach, including but not limited to: 1-review of pertinent AIA regulations, 2-Formal re-education courses regarding sportsmanship and related topics, and 3-communicating accountability and apology to the opposing institution player, coaching staff and administration. Additional stipulations are in place but not detailed here because of employee privacy.
After weighing the evidence, the AIA Executive Board, placed the team on probation. According to the AIA’s Article 22.214.171.124, probation disqualifies the team from the postseason.
The Board told Baker that if he can provide evidence of the apology to Fort Thomas along with other corrective actions mentioned, the violation may be reduced to a warning, which would allow the team to play in the postseason. But those corrective actions will have to be in place before the the next Executive Board meeting on February 18th when the board will vote whether or not to remove the probation.
Currently Phoenix Christian is ranked 15th in the 2A Power Rankings.
It should be noted that the AIA cannot directly discipline a coach. Coaches are employees of the school districts and are under their authority.
AIA Executive Director David Hines shared his thoughts with GilaValleyCentral. “We take any coach involved situation very seriously. When something like this happens it is a big concern for us,” he said. “In the end the school has to make proper decisions and the board will determine if that is sufficient enough to remove the probation.”