The hulabaloo surrounding whether coaches and players should be allowed to participate in “All-Star” evevnts during the school year is confusing because it’s cut-and-dry:
It’s been outlawed since 2005, and was done so at the request of a small committee of coaches and school/district athletic directors. It’s in the bylaws in fairly standard English. End of discussion.
Of course, it’s not the end of this discussion. The rule should be changed or at least modified in some way moving forward. Kids should (and will be) allowed to continue participating in these events, so why shouldn’t a coach be able to do the same if they are chosen? Or at least be granted permission by the Arizona Interscholastic Association per the coach or school’s request?
It’s too late for this current football game between Arizona and Southern California kids on Jan. 21 since the next AIA meeting is Jan. 22, but the football committee can draft a proposal and go through the proper channels and make a formal request for revision or elimination of the bylaw, which would then be voted on.
Like it or not, arbitrary though it might be — being at the whim of what the AIA sees in media reports or is self-reported might be the only recourse but is inconsistent — the AIA is upholding its own bylaws.
So everyone panic-stricken and looking for someone or something to blame, look elsewhere. The opposing side being the Arizona Football Coaches Association. It’s again led to contentiousness and frustration between the two organizations reminiscent of the past decade and most recently the August executive board meeting — claims that there remains a lack of communication and consent with those most immediately affected by bylaws. That point was reinforced this week (in gently-worded terms) in AZFCA president and Avondale Westview coach Jeff Bowen’s letter sent this week to peers and the media.
Their concerns remain legitimate.
It’s up to both sides to stop grandstanding and acting like each is the “sheriff” in town, and it’s up to coaches, athletic directors and the proper committee members to be an impetus for change if that’s what’s desired.
Meanwhile, Hamilton football coach Steve Belles recently brought up the idea of having retired coaches run the All-Star game. We’re not sure if it was his idea or not, but it’s an excellent (and probably best) alternative to sanctions or punishment for rule violations.
Former Mountain Pointe and McClintock coach Karl Kiefer already ruled himself out this week, according to the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Others would be interesting but equally unlikely (Pat Farrell, Jesse Parker, Vern Friedl). Others would be even better but possibly still rules violations as assistant coaches at an Arizona high school: Jim Ewan, Jim Jones, Rich Milligan or Jim Ellison.
Barring those gentleman, there are suddenly few options. But something will be figured out soon, both temporarily, and — if those coaching kids have their way — a better, more concrete solution.