History of the AIA

The AIA is a voluntary association of public and private high schools which was established by and is responsible to its members. The democratic governance of the AIA provides representation and input opportunities to all its member schools through their governing board members, administrators and teachers who serve on the Legislative Council, Executive Board and ad hoc committees.

The history of the AIA, which can be traced back to 1913, has been marked by rapid growth, constant improvement, and successful achievement of its major goals. These achievements have occurred primarily through the harmonious and cooperative efforts of those individuals who have been selected by the membership to represent their interest.

Vision Statement

The AIA Executive Board has adopted the following as the Vision Statement of the AIA. The AIA staff, Executive Board and member schools continue to embrace this vision by engaging its mission operationally through the many tournaments and services that are provided to the schools, fans and most importantly the students we serve.

  • Vigorously defend and promote current direction regarding the positive developments in the management of AIA business efficiently and effectively in accordance with state law, federal law and industry best practices/polices.
  • Create a culture that fosters self-governance and ethical behavior.
  • Teach, Enforce, Advocate, and Model the principles of the Arizona Accord and Pursuing Victory With Honor.
  • AIA must be an advocate for activities programs promoting and defending AIA's mission.

Mission Statement

Provide governance and state coordination for interscholastic activities, which enriches the education-based athletics and activities of Arizona high schools, in a fair, diverse and equitable manner.


Interscholastic activities are beneficial to the total education program.

  • Committed to the inclusion of equitable interscholastic opportunities for both boys and girls in all Arizona high schools.
  • There is a need to maintain a proper balance between the academic programs and extracurricular activities of the member schools.

Legislative Council

Legislative authority in all matters pertaining to interscholastic activities of member schools is vested in the Legislative Council, which is comprised of 48 representatives from the six conferences and the Arizona School Boards Association.

The Legislative Council meets once annually, unless circumstances necessitate that a special meeting be held. A special meeting can be called at the discretion of the President of the AIA Executive Board or upon written request to the President by five or more members of the Legislative Council.

Executive Board

The Executive Board applies, interprets and impartially enforces the rules and regulations contained in the AIA Constitution and Bylaws. The 10-member Executive Board is comprised of one administrator from each of the six Conferences and representatives from Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Arizona School Administrators, Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona North Central Association. The Executive Director, who oversees the daily operation of the AIA, is a nonvoting member of the Executive Board.


The AIA operational budget is financed by membership dues, varsity sport participation fees, and officials' registration fees.  All financial records are audited annually by an independent accounting firm.

The AIA's comprehensive dues structure has facilitated fiscally sound decision-making crucial to optimal utilization of its funds and has resulted in an accountable, fiducially responsible organization.

Membership Requirements

Any Arizona high school which meets the following requirements is eligible for full membership in the AIA.

  • The principal must submit a written application for membership by November 1 of the school year preceding that for which membership is being sought.
  • Must be recommended by the appropriate accrediting agency for acceptable standards for secondary schools.
  • Must certify that all principals, athletic directors, instructors, supervisors and regularly certified teachers under contract with the local school board and that none of the above is receiving any salary or remuneration for his/her school job from any outside source. (Exceptions are established for private, parochial, BIA, college preparatory and special function schools.)
  • Must agree to an on-site evaluation and bear the expenses incurred for same.
  • Must receive a simple majority vote of acceptance from the current members.
  • Must abide by all rules and regulations established by the member schools for interscholastic activities.
  • Pay annual membership, participation fees and assessments for athletic officials' mileage and student access accident insurance.
  • The school principal must assume responsibility for verification of all student eligibility rules. Final authority and ultimate responsibility in all matters pertaining to interscholastic activities is vested in the school principal.

School Recognition for Outstanding Activity Programs

Many schools in Arizona have outstanding activity programs and, for over 30 years, the AIA has honored such schools with Overall Excellence Awards, which bear the names of former Executive Directors to commemorate their outstanding service. The E.A. Row (1A Conference), Don F. Stone (2A Conference and 3A Conference) and H.A. Hendrickson (4A Conference and 5A Conference) annual rotation trophies, plaques and permanent banners are awarded to schools with overall excellence in interscholastic activities. The schools are selected to receive these awards through the total points they have accumulated by their activity and excellence in music, speech, athletics, contest management and sportsmanship.

In 1987, the AIA initiated a program to honor outstanding girls' athletic programs. The Tony Komadina Award For Outstanding Girls' Athletic Program is presented annually to two schools (a 1A-3A Conference school and a 4A-5A Conference school) which have demonstrated the greatest advocacy of, and progress in, girls' athletics. Schools initiate the process by submitting a self-nominating application. An ad hoc selection committee reviews the applications, performs on-site evaluations of the finalists, and then submits a recommendation to the Executive Board.