Zylan Cheatham, Connor MacDougall and DeViandre Newsom are cleared for takeoff.
The basketball standouts were represented by the same lawyer during their open door hardship appeals Monday at the Arizona Interscholastic Association office. But each player did a good job of arguing their hardship case on their own, especially the well-spoken Cheatham.
The AIA executive board cited Westwind Prep’s, the players’ former high school, NCAA’s “extended evaluation” for clearing Cheatham (South Mountain), MacDougall (Corona del Sol) and Newsom (South Mountain) to play this season. Some of the classes the players took at Westwind Prep were not transferrable, forcing the players to take online courses to be eligible to play this year.
“There is no other option,” said Cheatham when asked by a board member why he was transferring back to South Mountain.
Cheatham already committed to San Diego State, and MacDougall is headed to Arizona State.
MacDougall started his high school career at Desert Vista, but went to Westwind Prep because he was bullied by a Desert Vista staff member, MacDougall’s dad said during his son’s appeal. MacDougall’s father also explained the financial hardship’s his family faced, forcing the MacDougalls to move.
Newsom is from Wisconsin.
Former AIA board member Bill Gahn, Deer Valley district athletic director, introduced Deer Valley High's acting athletic director and new assistant principal, Lori Mora, to the board.
Former Deer Valley baseball coach Larry Eubanks will run Deer Valley’s athletic department for the remainder of the school year.
---Dave Stead, the executive director of the Minnesota State High School League, gave a presentation about his state’s robotics high school association sponsored league.
There’s some interest in Arizona about adding new AIA sports/activities.
---The Catholic Community Foundation made a presentation for a scholarship a donor wants to give to high school students interested in attending Catholic high schools in the state. Concerns about using the scholarship as a recruiting tool prompted the AIA’s board to not vote on the scholarship offer.
---Al Trejo of the AIA’s wrestling advisory committee presented a wrestling proposal to change the way wrestlers qualify for state.
Trejo said some of the divisions, especially in D-I, are unbalanced. Dr. Harold Slemmer, the AIA’s executive director, recommended that the board not adopt the measure until more coaches are contacted. Dr. Slemmer mentioned the possibility of using power rankings in the future to rank wrestlers.
“The technology is available,” Dr. Slemmer said.
---Chandler’s request to allow coach Shaun Aguano to coach in the Army All-American Football Bowl was granted, but the request from Desert Edge and Cactus to allow their coaches to participate in the California Canyon Coast Classic were denied.