CASA GRANDE — While the Arizona Interscholastic Association fall sports calendar provides a blueprint moving forward, the big picture is still unclear, and Pima County could impact the landscape dramatically for three Pinal County teams.
PinalCentral obtained a letter in which superintendents representing all of Pima County signed said the county’s high schools will not participate in any athletic activities until in-person instruction is allowed to resume amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To ensure the safety of our student athletes and coaches, Pima County School Districts will not schedule or participate in sports competitions until high schools have returned to in-person instruction and we have received clearance from the Pima County Health Department,” the letter states.
This decision is significant not just for Pima County, but all the schools outside the county that have Pima County teams on their schedules.
That includes Casa Grande Union, which plays in the newly-modified 4A Kino region. All five of CG Union’s region opponents are based in Pima County – Oro Valley Canyon del Oro, Tucson Sahuaro, Tucson Pueblo, Sahuarita Walden Grove and Vail Mica Mountain.
The revised 4A schedules have yet to be released, with official practices set to begin in just one week (Sept. 7).
The 4A, 5A and 6A conferences are expected to have eight regular season games on their schedules, with the regular season starting Oct. 2.
The letter from the 11 Pima County superintendents stressed a cautious approach to the return of athletics but also acknowledged the benefits of sports programs.
“This is a decision that is not made lightly, and that has the full agreement of all Pima County School Districts,” the letter states. “We know the importance of these activities to our students and families, and we look forward to returning to a healthy and safe environment for athletic competitions as soon as the circumstances allow.”
It’s unclear what this means for CG Union moving forward. Athletic director Randy Robbins said time is running out for the schedules to be released, adding the Cougars need to know what opponents they are preparing for, since the regular season will start in one month.
Two other Pinal County teams — Santa Cruz Valley and new AIA member school Sequoia Pathway — also have multiple Pima County teams in their region, the newly-created 2A Rillito. That region includes Tucson Santa Rita, Tucson Catalina and Tucson Tanque Verde, in addition to Wellton Antelope, which is just outside Yuma.