STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control unanimously approved a task force recommendation to revamp the conference realignment process, and voted on changes to the fall sports season regulations at its January meeting yesterday.
The new conference realignment process will feature a more formalized manner for member schools to request relief from conference affiliations. A committee has been established to evaluate all realignment requests with the Board retaining the authority to make final determinations in conference alignment decisions.
The new collaborative model is intended to add structure, enhance communication with all member schools and provide transparency in the realignment process. All levels of school administration at each member school will be informed of the committee’s deliberations at each step of the new process.
The Board also reviewed and acted on 36 proposed fall coaches’ and officials’ advisory committee recommendations with 21 receiving approval.
The four football proposals approved by the Board include implementation of instant replay–if approved by the NFHS for state adoption–for the State finals played at Camp Randall Stadium on scoring plays and turnovers once protocol and technical ability is established; developing a sub-committee by 2020 to review football-only, eight-player conferences; implementing the use of an electronic system for auto seeding the playoff field beginning in 2019; and allowing girdles on the third, fourth and fifth days of the acclimatization protocol.
There were eight changes to the volleyball season regulations. Approval was granted for Sectional 1 in Division 1 of the girls tournament to play the sectional semifinals at two different sites if all four schools advancing are in agreement. The Executive Staff will determine the second site.
The Board also supported an amended recommendation to schedule sectional final double-headers when possible with the boys match scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and the girls match at 7 p.m.
Three of the volleyball changes involve seeding. The first prescribes that all eight qualifying teams for the boys State tournament be seeded. Likewise for the girls State tournament, all eight teams in Division 1 and all four teams in Divisions 2, 3 and 4 will be seeded. The third requires girls regional seed meetings to be conducted in-person or by real-time electronic means, such as video conferencing.
In a tournament series hosting alteration, the highest-seeded team will host the sectional semifinals unless its venue does not have appropriate seating or facilities. In sectionals that vote to separate into smaller regional groupings, the executive office will assign predetermined sites for the sectional semifinals.
The Board approved the recommendation to afford the opportunity for licensed student officials to serve as line judges during the tournament series. It also supported removing the requirement to request a six-set waiver for players participating at multiple levels on the same day in all divisions.
Six soccer recommendations received the Board’s approval. It supported a recommendation to extend experimenting with 45-minute halves for three additional years to provide the opportunity for the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association to collect data for the NFHS.
Two of the soccer regulation changes are schedule related. When a tournament play-in game is necessary in Division 1 and Division 2, the games will be played on the Saturday preceding the Tuesday of regional semifinals or on a mutually agreed upon date. In addition, seed meetings must now be held no later than 10 p.m. on the Sunday nine days prior to the Tuesday of the first regional game.
Starting in 2019-20, special consideration will be given applications to host sectional final games that have a field at least 110 yards long and 75 yards wide. The final soccer recommendation to receive Board acceptance permits a host school to use a substitute field provided the venue is on the WIAA’s Approved Site list.
Among the three changes to the season regulations in tennis is seeding all eight of the teams in the State Team Tournament. Another places 66 percent of schools possessing the largest enrollments that sponsor tennis in Division 1 with the remaining 34 percent of schools with the lowest enrollments in Division 2. The third change requires the seeding of the top five positions at sub-sectionals by majority vote of coaches with additional seeding and placements allowed.
A pair of recommendations proposed by the Officials Advisory Committee were approved by the Board. Officials will now receive advancement credit for completing the NFHS officials training video for all sports. The Board also supported including felony DWI and OWI convictions to the guidelines for denying officials licensure for 10 years following a conviction.
The Board approved a number of other action items. It gave approval of extending the agreement with Wilson Sporting Goods as the exclusive supplier of the Official WIAA Football and the ball used at Level 3, 4 and the State finals through August 2024. Following a presentation from a member school requesting a review of residential/boarding school requirements, the Executive Staff was directed by the Board to develop a membership standard and definition of what constitutes a residential/boarding school to present to the membership by the 2020 Annual Meeting.
The November and December general fund payments and statements, as well as the December deferred liability fund and fall sports financial statements were also approved by the Board.
Other topics of discussion included a preview of Constitutional amendments and the agenda for the Annual Meeting in April, football-only conferences, associating seed meeting hosts with schools hosting sectional finals, the transition of traditional single-gender schools to co-ed status and reviewing school event safety.
The Board also received a liaison reports from Pam Foegen of the NFHS Board of Directors and Jeremy Schlitz of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.