Basketball Update: WIAA Announces Masks Directive, Adds 2 Additional Timeouts per Game

Stevens Point (OnFocus) – In Friday’s WIAA Board of Control meeting, the Board discussed and then communicated to athletic directors, basketball coaches, and officials some changes in procedures and policies due to the pandemic, effective immediately:

MASKS

  • Under the current Governor’s mandate, all individuals must wear a mask while indoors.  At this time, masks must be worn by all at a basketball practice/game, including the athletes and officials. 

Once the Governor’s orders are lifted, our guidance states that athletes/officials may wear a mask while participating in exertion, but it is not required.  All others, on-site, should be masked.  Schools must follow their district policy and abide by their local health department mandates.

  • The WIAA expects all Member Schools to abide by the Governor’s mandate while it is in place.  The Governor’s mandate includes some exemptions to mask wearing for certain health issues.  It is allowable for a member school to create a policy that is more strict than the mandate, as we did during the WIAA Tournament Series (no exemptions).  Please be clear with your athletes and parents, regarding the masking policy.
  • Masks are to be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth
  • There have been many questions regarding the enforcement of the mask policy.  The Board of Control has discussed the concerns from Administrators and Officials.  At this time, they are asking that there be a COLLABORATIVE EFFORT between the Officials, Coaches, and Game Administrators to enforce proper masking.
    • During dead ball situations, Coaches and Officials should be addressing players on the floor to properly secure their masks.
      • Coaches must continuously address their players who’s masks have come down or been pulled down, to secure their masks properly.
      • Officials, make a statement to the group or individual players to “mask up”.
      • Officials, make a statement to the coaches asking them to enforce the mask rule with their players.
      • Officials may wait until all players are properly masked to put the ball back in play
      • Officials may request a sub for any player who is not/will not mask(ed) properly
      • Game administration may stop a game to address improper masking.
      • Games may be ended by Game Administration if proper masking cannot be accomplished
  • The Board of Control will revisit this in the upcoming weeks, to determine if further steps must be taken.  It is necessary for all member schools, athletes, coaches, and officials to uniformly abide by the mask rules, so that the basketball season will not be in jeopardy.

WINTER SPORTS GUIDELINES

  • The Winter Sports Guidelines that are specific to basketball are guidelines, and not mandatory.
    • Jump ball vs. sideline inbound
    • Pregame protocol (captains to the center circle)
    • Team Benches
    • Officials Table
    • Etc.
  • What is MANDATORY?
    • COVID Basics
    • Pre-workout screening
    • Tracing Sheet
    • Verification Form – mandatory for EVERY GAME.
    • Masks
    • Medical Clearance Form
    • Etc.

ADDITIONAL TIMEOUTS

  • This morning the Board of Control approved additional 30-second timeouts for Boys and Girls Basketball to alleviate concerns regarding fatigue due to masking.  This is a COVID accommodation for the 2020-21 school year.
    • Each team will receive two additional 30-second timeouts – One per half.
    • This is in addition to the current timeouts for basketball. (three FULL and two 30’s now becomes three FULL and four 30’s)
      • Entering the first half a team will have three FULL and three 30’s to use during that half
      • One 30 second timeout will not carry over to the second half – all other timeouts carry over.
      • Entering the second half a team will have the timeouts that they carried over, plus one additional 30
      • The additional 30 for the second half does not carry over into overtime – all other timeouts carry over.
      • Each team still is entitled to the one additional 60 second time-out for each extra period.
    • If the timeout is not used in the first half, it will not carry over to the second half.  “Use it, or lose it.”
    • This applies to all levels of high school basketball.

When does this go into effect?:  IMMEDIATELY

ELECTRONIC SEEDING

At this point we had hoped to collect all game schedules from basketball programs in order to move forward with electronic seeding.  We are far from whole, when it comes to having all of the data we need, including schedules.  We understand that schedules are changing constantly, but we need you to input what you have, and update as necessary.

  • It has been determined that we will hold virtual seeding meetings this year, and use the seeding tool along-side – in order to see how it compares with coaches seeding.
  • We will not be able to provide the comparison unless all schedules are included in our database.  It is essential that you take the time to do that ASAP.
  • In the future, we hope to share information with RSchool so that you will not need to input your schedules into several sites.  We are in a transitional year.

NON-SCHOOL COMPETITION (COVID Exemption)

The Board of Control has provided a COVID-19 accommodation regarding non-school competition for this year only.

  • If a school is not practicing winter sports in-person and is only practicing with virtual coaching instruction, the athlete may compete in non-school competition until the school officially begins in-person practice.
    • Schools, including school resources and coaches, may not be involved with the non-school teams.
    • This does not apply to school teams that have begun in-person practices and later paused practice to quarantine.  If a school has begun in-person practices, athletes are limited to two school approved non-school competitions during the regular season.

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]