Stevens Point (OnFocus) – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control approved several modifications of the membership’s rules and tournament procedures, as well as the revised sites and hosts of three fall State Tournament sites in addressing the ongoing challenges of navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic at its September meeting today.
If conditions allow for culminating events or State Tournaments to continue, the Board voted in support of conducting the State Girls Golf Championships at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.; the State Girls Swimming & Diving Championships at Waukesha South High School; the Division 1 State Girls Team and Individual Tennis Tournaments at the Lake Geneva Tennis Club in Lake Geneva, Wis., and the Division 2 State Girls Team and Individual Tennis Tournaments at the Sports Core in Kohler, Wis.
The Board suspended a pair of tournament procedure regulations for 2020-21 only. The number of teams prescribed for tournament assignments and divisional placements was removed with flexibility given to the Executive Staff to determine the structure of the tournaments. In addition, the team or individual most recently defeated in the Tournament Series will be afforded the opportunity to advance if defeated by a team or individual unable to advance because of COVID-19 related circumstances.
The Board also approved a number of other pandemic-associated rule alterations for this school year only. It grants coaches additional unrestricted out-of-season contact during the school year and prior to the start of their respective season. A one week no-contact period immediately before the start of the season remains unchanged. The additional coaching contact is limited to a school’s own student-athletes, and it may not involve students or teams from outside the school. Coaches of teams in the alternate fall sports seasons and the spring sports seasons are now allowed 15 contact days, and winter sports coaches are allowed five contact days. No out-of-season coaching contact during the school year was afforded to traditional fall seasons sports coaches that have started their season. Additional details of sports-specific coaches contact was communicated with member school athletic directors.
In other pandemic-related considerations, the Board voted to permit schools to schedule varsity games after elimination from the Tournament Season, and to allow lower levels to schedule games during the entire Tournament Series. Also, the Board adjusted eligibility rules for this year to ensure student-athletes are able to participate in the alternate fall sports season after graduation.
The Board officially banned the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) Products without a prescription from a licensed health care professional, and it supported postponing the Sportsmanship Summit, scheduled for this December, until Dec. 8. 2021. The Board also voted to support a study conducted by Dr. Andrew Watson and his research team on the incidence of COVID-19 among high school athletes and to describe the risk migration procedures being used.
The conference alignment proposal for Sun Prairie West High School as a new member school to be placed in the Big Eight Conference for all sports except football in 2022-23 was approved via the fast track option implemented by the Conference Realignment Task Force this year.
The Board received liaison reports from Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction, John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors.
Among other discussions, the Board tabled consideration of providing student-athletes opportunities to compete in nonschool competitions during the spring sports season after a lengthy discussion and two failed motions. The Executive Staff presented the Board with topics and plans for the virtual 2020 Area Meetings scheduled for Sept. 22; flexibility for the 2020-21 revised seasons calendar; technology advancements with the school directory database, including development of alternate fall season accommodations; Technology Coordinator Eric Dziak’s appointment to the National Federation of State High School Associations Technology Committee; as well as staffing and officials’ licensing updates.
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