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AIA cancels basketball championship games in Prescott Valley after backlash over weather

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Posted at 8:36 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 10:37:13-05

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The Arizona Interscholastic Association just announced that it is canceling all games in the boys and girls 1A and 2A basketball state championship tournament in Prescott Valley this weekend.

The announcement comes after backlash from parents and even school representatives who reached out to ABC15 concerned about safety as teams made the drive from all over the state to Prescott Valley, where it has snowed over 14 inches in the last 24 hours.

Most teams, however, already made the drive to Prescott Valley after the AIA said the tournament would not be canceled earlier this week.

By: Clayton KlapperPRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ — The Arizona Interscholastic Association just announced that it is canceling all games in the boys and girls 1A and 2A basketball state championship tournament in Prescott Valley this weekend.

The announcement comes after backlash from parents and even school representatives who reached out to ABC15 concerned about safety as teams made the drive from all over the state to Prescott Valley, where it has snowed over 14 inches in the last 24 hours.

Most teams, however, already made the drive to Prescott Valley after the AIA said the tournament would not be canceled earlier this week.

The AIA had told teams Thursday that if they did not make it to games that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, they could be forced to forfeit.

Now, Friday, the AIA says games are canceled, and teams should “remain in place” until it is safe to drive. In a Friday morning Facebook post , the AIA director said:

“At this point, while 13 schools are in the Prescott area, it is unsafe for them to travel to the arena. We have advised the schools to stay in and avoid the roads until it is safe to return home. I will be working with my financial team to evaluate ways in which we may provide reimbursement assistance to the affected teams who traveled to Prescott. Tickets purchased ahead of time are fully refundable. We will post additional information and instructions within the next day.”

The AIA now says they will be looking into makeup dates for the games, and a new venue, most likely in the Phoenix area.

Here is the statement released Friday, in full, from the AIA:

From David Hines, AIA Executive Director.

On Wednesday because we were unable to reach consensus on postponement options for the 1A and 2A basketball tournament, we were left with the decision to play as scheduled or cancel. No one wanted to cancel, and postponement options were challenging due to several factors. Since we didn’t know when the weather would clear, postponing a week or two meant that some schools would possibly not be able to participate. Postponement of any length created hardships due to other travel plans of the participating teams and their students’ possible involvement in Spring sports. This lead to the decision to move forward. Most teams felt it was in their best interest to travel early with many leaving Wednesday after the conference call.

At this point, while 13 schools are in the Prescott area, it is unsafe for them to travel to the arena. We have advised the schools to stay in and avoid the roads until it is safe to return home. I will be working with my financial team to evaluate ways in which we may provide reimbursement assistance to the affected teams who traveled to Prescott. Tickets purchased ahead of time are fully refundable. We will post additional information and instructions within the next day.

We are now looking at options to split the conference tournaments after the weather has improved. We will be inquiring with a variety of venue options in the metro Phoenix area. Once venue options have been determined, a conference call will take place with the affected schools to finalize the new tournament dates and times.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to everyone affected. It was our sincerest desire to give the very deserving student-athletes the full tournament experience. The intensity of storms like these has been rare for the Prescott area and we did not anticipate the full effect it would have on our traveling teams. We now appreciate the magnitude of this weather and want only for the safety of our teams.

We will continue to post updates on social media and keep everyone aware of the next steps. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their concerns and ideas.

Further questions may be directed to Shay Pausa at 480-286-6278 or via the Facebook AZPreps365 page.