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PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Monday in favor of the Arizona Interscholastic Association over three schools who sued the association over its football placement for the upcoming school year.

The three schools, Phoenix Northwest Christian, Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin and Eagar Round Valley, sued the AIA to prevent them from being placed in larger conferences.

Northwest Christian and Benjamin Franklin were fighting the move from 3A to 4A, while Round Valley was fighting the move to 2A from 3A.

In testimony last week, the schools cited player safety for their reasons to remain in the lower conferences.

“We are appreciative of the ruling and hope that we can now move forward with not only the scheduling of football games, but also with the schools involved in the case,” AIA executive director David Hines said in a press release.

“It was a decision to protect the new competitive balance model voted on by the Executive Board. We never want to go to court to settle any matters with our members. This was unfortunate, but necessary to maintain the integrity of the AIA’s rules and regulations.”

The lawsuit held up scheduling for the 2020 football season, which can now move forward.

Starting this year, the AIA reclassified football teams based on an algorithm that ranked their performance in the last three seasons. Highly successful teams were bumped up in classification.

Northwest Christian and Benjamin Franklin were among the top teams in 3A, and Round Valley was a 2A power.

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