October 8, 2004
It’s been more than 30 years since the Arizona Interscholastic Association expanded from four to five conferences.
With the incredible growth around the state since then, it seems the time is rapidly approaching when administrators will have to take a serious look at reconfiguring the way the state’s high schools are organized, especially since most of the growth has occurred at the 4A and 5A levels.
"There’s an imbalance in the conferences," said Mesa High athletic director Mike Anderson, who was a member of an AIA committee that explored the state’s reorganization options over the last two years.
"(The) 4A and 5A (conferences) are getting larger and larger and the 1A, 2A and 3A (conferences) are shrinking in numbers. We need to do something to try and balance that."
Change may be coming sooner than many had expected.
The 4A has already set plans into motion to split into two divisions — each with its own postseason tournaments and state champions — and some around the state are beginning to call for the formation of a 6A conference.
It’s probably too late for anything to be done on a statewide level this year regarding a 6A conference.
But the next two years are certain to be a time of change for Arizona’s high schools — if they can all get together and come up with a single plan.
"I think with the ways schools keep cropping up on new corners every year, there will be a time when we have to put aside individual concerns and think about what’s best for the whole," Glendale Union High School District athletic director Sid Bailey said. "We have to do something."