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Arizona winter high school sports delayed to January

November 20, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board has delayed the start of winter high school sports until January as coronavirus cases surge across the state.

The board voted Thursday that winter sports seasons will be allowed to start Jan. 5 and must end by Feb. 19. Teams must practice for at least 14 days before starting competition.

The maximum number of games for basketball and soccer will remain at 20. But the board approved two extra wrestling matches, increasing the maximum allowed from 12 to 14.

The board also said no fans will be allowed until further notice and no invites, regional tournaments or out-of-state competition will be allowed.

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Executive Director David Hines made the recommendation Monday after meeting with health officials.

“Delaying the start of the season will give our coaches and administrators time to implement safety protocols and put sports modifications in place,” Hines said. “The executive board felt it was necessary to fight for these students to have a chance. They see the need in the schools they are representing.”

Coronavirus benchmarks call for less than 100 cases per 100,000 residents, two weeks under 7% positivity and two weeks under 10% hospitalizations.

The spring season has also been slightly changed, with official practices being pushed to Feb. 15, a week later than originally planned.

Also on Friday, Pima County announced it was canceling all athletic events and tournaments involving interstate travel until the end of the year.