STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control approved the 11-player football conference realignment solution initiated by the WIAA Conference Realignment Task Force Committee, admission requirements for baseball and softball Tournament Series contests this spring and other action items, as well as tabled discussion of a COVID-19 recovery fee assessment at its April meeting today.
The Conference Realignment Task Force Committee considered rationale to provide a conference affiliation for all member schools grouped by enrollment and by geography, as well as prioritizing eight-team and paired seven-team conferences – where reasonable – with geography and enrollment to accommodate the need for seven-game conference results for WIAA playoff-qualifying criteria. The new conference alignment impacts 23 schools, effective for the 2022 football season.
The Board unanimously voted to require charging admission at all baseball and softball Tournament Series events this spring. Member schools will retain 100 percent of the gate receipts, but they will be responsible for officials expenses, host school allowances and host manager fees. If expenses are not fully covered by admissions or if schools are not able to charge admissions, schools are responsible for all or remaining event fees.
In extending additional COVID-19 accommodations for this spring, the Board approved a waiver to NFHS baseball rules for 2021 only, allowing members to schedule five-inning baseball doubleheaders with continued compliance with the pitch count rule. It also voted to increase the number of nonschool competitions from two to four in girls soccer during the 2021 spring season only, applicable during the regular season and the Tournament Series.
A special election was approved to fill the District 7 position on the Board of Control with the pending retirement of Phil Ertl. The Board voted to conduct the election using electronic balloting. The deadline for filing declarations of candidacy is Wednesday, May 19. The newly elected position will be seated for the August Board meeting. The Board also approved a Middle Level Advisory Council recommendation to provide unlimited nonschool contact during the school year for coaches in all sports.
In other Board action, it voted to remove a petition amendment from the Annual Meeting agenda addressing school classifications in boys and girls basketball, approved cooperative team arrangements for 2021-22 and 2022-23, appointments to the officials advisory committee for 2021-22, as well as the February and March general fund financial statements and payments.
Following additional review of the association’s financial information after the winter tournaments, the Board decided to table discussions and action on a membership-wide disaster emergency assessment fee to sustain WIAA operations. The Board may revisit disaster recovery discussions and plans if needed in the future.
Other items shared with the Board was a legislative update on the Officials Assault Bill AB-158, reference to a Board correspondence from Prairie Farm and a review of the alternate season culminating events.
The Board received liaison reports from Mike Thompson of the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
The WIAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit organization. The membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 515 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership.
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