Recommended Guidelines for Return to Activity

AIA's Executive Board has endorsed guidelines for the return to sport and activity for competition in the winter.

Seth Polansky
Sports Information Coordinator

AIA adding FIFA and Madden as newest varsity esports competitions for state championships

January 6, 2021 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365


The Arizona Interscholastic Association, in partnership with PlayVS, had previously announced an expansion of its recognized varsity title offerings to include FIFA 21 and Madden NFL 21 for the upcoming Spring 2021 season. Amid continued COVID-19 concerns and traditional sports reworking their infrastructure, the value of esports is evident now more than ever as the AIA is excited to provide high school students a safe extracurricular environment in which to experience it.

Registration and information for the Spring 2021 season is open now until Feb. 26 on the AIA’s official esports page. The season begins on March 1.

Two of the most popular sports titles in the world, FIFA and Madden boast real professional soccer and football players on their real professional teams. EA’s long-running sport simulation franchises represent all of the excitement of the sports gamers know and puts them in the center of the action. These titles will join Rocket League and League of Legends as AIA sanctioned esports.

"Anything that helps students stay involved with their schools is something that we fully embrace,” David Hines, AIA Executive Director, said. “Esports has proven to be a popular outlet in the year-plus we have offered it. Adding some of the most popular sports games to the library of offerings is going to excite everyone. The availability of being able to play these games in any number of safe environments due to the pandemic is something we hope many students will take advantage of.”

How PlayVS’ FIFA & Madden leagues will work:

  • High school FIFA and Madden teams will compete in PlayVS High School leagues for AIA sanctioned varsity competition.
  • Teams will be made up of three players. Teams will play three 1v1 matches, and whoever wins the best-of-three series will be declared the winner.
  • Schools can register an unlimited number of teams.
  • Top teams at the end of the season will advance to playoffs and compete for a state championship.
  • FIFA matches are played weekly on Tuesdays and Madden matches are on Thursdays.

“The NFHS Network is proud to support the addition of FIFA and Madden to the high school esports gaming portfolio,” said NFHS Network Vice President Mark Koski. “These are incredibly popular game titles among students. We will now offer a new kind of competition to our players and expand the appeal of our platform to a larger audience. We can’t wait to recognize the first-ever FIFA and Madden high school state champions across the country.”
Esports, in nature, allows players to compete in a hybrid of settings – from a computer lab, in-person at school or from a gaming console or PC/laptop at home – which will allow for optimal participation heading into an uncertain school year this fall. With PlayVS, the AIA has been able to afford students even more opportunities to safely compete and hone their skills in STEM and team collaboration during the current COVID-19 crisis. To meet the needs of communities, schools and students, teams are allowed to compete remotely in order to maintain social distancing while still enjoying the camaraderie, competition and social connections esports provides. This cost-effective offering also helps schools push students to continue to achieve excellence, while they may not be back in school full-time, through GPA and attendance requirements, scholarship opportunities and more.

The AIA strives to give every kind of student the opportunity to be involved in an extracurricular activity by bringing esports programs to high schools, encouraging participation regardless of gender, physical ability or socioeconomic status. Many higher education institutions already compete in esports, with more than 200 colleges and universities offering nearly $10M in scholarship opportunities.

For more information, please visit https://www.playvs.com/.

ABOUT PLAYVS
PlayVS is the industry-leading, amateur esports platform. It is the single community where players come together to compete, fans gather to spectate and coaches manage their programs. Through strategic partnerships with the NFHS, state associations, and top game publishers, PlayVS has become the backbone of high school esports, powering league play and State Championships across the nation. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has raised more than $96 million since its founding in January 2018. For more information, visit www.playvs.com.