Alaska School Activities Association
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|Alaska School Activities Association|
|Purpose/focus||Athletic / educational|
|Headquarters||4048 Laurel Street #203
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
|Executive director||Gary Matthews|
|Affiliations||National Federation of State High School Associations|
The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) is the regulating body for high school interscholastic activities in Alaska and is Alaska's member to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The Alaska High School Activities Association was founded in 1957 by the territorial board of education, when the need arose for a regulating body in local and regional basketball tournaments. By 1973, separate regions were formed for basketball competition. By 1987, ASAA became fully independent from state government control or oversight. Currently, ASAA serves as the organizing body for over 190 schools, with a combined enrollment of over 35,000 students. The current executive director is Gary Mathews.
The organization is headquartered in the "U-Med District" of Anchorage.
|Classification (non-football and non-softball)||Number of students||Number of schools at classification|
|4A||501 and above||23|
|Classification (football and softball)||Number of students||Number of schools at classification|
|4A||851 and above||15|
March Madness – Alaska style
ASAA's March Madness state basketball tournament is one of the largest yearly prep sports events in Alaska, mainly because of basketball's unrivaled popularity in rural and urban areas alike. The tournament showcases the eight best teams (selected by region-wide divisional tournaments) from 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A classifications in standard, separate, two tiered brackets that accommodate 5th place, 3rd place, and championship games.
The tournament, hence the name, takes place usually during the last half of the month of March, and has, at times in the past, taken place during the Anchorage School District’s spring break.
During this event, thousands of people from all over the state of Alaska pour into Anchorage to cheer their respective local teams on, or to simply take in the basketball action. Previously, before the 2006 basketball season, the frenzied tournament action spanned across as many as three different venues in Anchorage over the course of four days with games played from as early as 8 a.m. AKST to late into the evening (sometimes with the final game of the day ending after midnight). However, beginning with the 2006 season and beyond, the tournament format was altered to accommodate week-long, early Monday through late Saturday play with the majority of games at all classifications played at Sullivan Arena.
Sullivan Arena, primarily a hockey venue, is reconfigured to contain two full-sized basketball courts for the tournament week.
High school football
The ASAA sanctions high school football at the 3A “small school” and 4A “large school” classifications. Some other teams play independent from the 3A and 4A classifications and cannot participate at either state tournament.
Each year. Alaska holds the first high school game in the nation, held usually around mid-August during summer vacation. Because of this, and the relatively short eight game season, ASAA state championship football games are played earlier than elsewhere as well, with tournament games taking place in mid-to-late October.
Currently, 15 teams play at the 4A classification in the Cook Inlet and Railbelt conferences, while 14 teams play at the 3A classification in the Northern Lights and Greatland conferences.
First National Bowl
The culminating state tournament football games, sponsored by First National Bank Alaska, take place at the Anchorage Football Stadium over the course of two weeks. First week games feature a pair of 4A semifinal games and the 3A state championship game, while the second week of play consists of the 4A state championship game. Both classification champions are given a traveling trophy to be defended the following season.
ASAA regulates the following interscholastic activities:
- All-State Art Festival
- All-State Honor Music Festival
- Drama, debate, and forensics (serves as the statewide organizing body for the National Forensic League)
- Nordic skiing
- Solo and Ensemble Music Festival
- Swimming and Diving
- Track and field
- World language
ASAA also regulates the statewide student government association, the Alaska Association for Student Government (AASG). This child organization includes about 150 member high schools all across Alaska. Collectively, local AASG programs serve over 25,000 young people in their home schools and state-wide. The statewide organization is led by a 17-seat executive board composed of students selected for either one or two-year terms.