Every two year the Arizona Interscholastic Association counts high school enrollment for every school in Arizona. They then place the schools in 1A through 6A Conferences based on those enrollment numbers. Only one Gila Valley school will be affected by the new alignment.
Thatcher High School, whose enrollment has skyrocketed to 538 will be placed into 3A for all sports, except football, at this point. Football will be determined in December after the current season has ended. It is expected that Thatcher football will be in 3A when that list comes out as well.
Safford will stay in 3A for all non-football sports for the next two years as well. Their enrollment is 869. One could assume that Thatcher would join Safford in whatever region they are assigned to. It will be interesting to see if it will be with the White Mountain schools or still down in the 3A South with the Tucson schools.
Other former 2A schools placed in the 3A on the initial list are Alchesay, Globe, Parker and Camp Verde. The list also contains Notre Dame Prep and St. Mary’s but those two have traditionally petitioned up to bigger leagues. These placements are based solely on enrollment.
The football formula will include the team’s winning percentage for the last 3 seasons starting next year. Because of this, the football divisions will change every year. It will almost be like International Soccer where teams are moved up and down based on their performances.
Now that the non-football placements have been made, schools have until October 15th to appeal their conference placement. The Conference Committees will meet October 22nd through 24th to review the appeals and set the new regions. Schools will then have until November 1st to appeal the region placement. Regions will be finalized November 19th for all non-football sports.
The 11-man football timeline is a bit different with the new formula. Initial football Conferences will be posted on December 12th, 2019. Schools will have until December 19th to appeal. On January 9th, 2020 the conference committees will announce the finalized Conferences and initial region placements. Schools will then have another chance to appeal the region alignment before the they finalize the Regions on February 19th, 2020 at the AIA Executive Board Meeting.