The Board of Control voted to approve several fall sport coaches’ recommendations in football, soccer, cross country, tennis and volleyball, and acted on three conference realignment plans at its January meeting today.
The lone football recommendation to receive Board approval establishes a Tournament Series for eight-player football to replace the eight-team jamboree beginning in 2018. The eight-player tournament will be re-evaluated after two years.
In soccer, the Board approved a change in the Boys and Girls State Tournament schedule beginning in 2016-17. The days and times of the semifinals and finals for the four divisions will rotate on a four-year schedule. Details of the four-year rotation will be identified in each respective season’s regulations and tournament procedures. The rotation schedule will be reviewed following two years experience with the format.
Other soccer changes include an allowance for a scrimmage after three days of practice beginning in 2016-17, and prescribing the higher-seeded team to wear white uniforms and be designated as the home team through the sectional semifinals. In addition, the soccer tournament series brackets in all divisions will be set in the large-grouping design with the exception of sectional #1. In sectional #1 for all divisions, coaches would be required to vote to retain the half-bracket because of geographical concerns.
The Board also approved a cross country recommendation that establishes a six-year divisional and gender rotation for the State Meet race schedule. Details of the six-year rotation will be identified in each respective season’s regulations and tournament procedures.
Two tennis recommendations received Board support. For 2016 only, the girls subsectionals will be permitted to play on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1. Also, a two-year trial was approved that changes the order of play in matches at the State Team Tennis Tournament beginning this spring. Matches will begin with the #4 singles flight followed by the #3 doubles flight. The match will proceed through the flights and end with #1 singles as the last scheduled match.
The lone volleyball recommendation received approval, granting an increase of the bench limits from 20 to 22 while retaining the maximum of 15 players in uniform.
Two conference realignment plans received final support. The first involves the Rock Valley and Trailways Conferences. Palmyra-Eagle and Parkview move from the Rock Valley to Trailways for football only in 2016 and for all sports beginning in the fall of 2017. The change reduces the Rock Valley to 10 teams while increasing the Trailways to 24 teams. The second plan receiving final approval moves Riverdale from the Southwest Wisconsin Athletic League to the Ridge &?Valley Conference for football only beginning this fall.
A conference realignment plan modified at the December Board meeting that involves 45 schools, five current conferences in the Milwaukee metro area and the Badger Conference received first approval for a 2017-18 implementation (See attachment for the complete plan). Membership rules require a 40-day window for schools involved in realignment plans to appeal the first consideration of the Board before it takes final action. Thus, schools have until March 7, 2016, to file an appeal of the Board’s initial vote. The Board is scheduled to take final action on the plan at its April 19 meeting.
In other action items, the Board directed the Sportsmanship Committee to review the contents of the Sportsmanship Reference Guide and determine if specific guidelines are still representative of the membership’s expectations. In addition, the Board voted to approve a proposed University of Wisconsin study entitled “Academic Effects of Concussion in High School Student Athletes,” reflecting the membership’s constant commitment to the safety and well-being of Wisconsin high school athletes. The Board’s support of the research study does not obligate a member school to participate in the study.
The Board received reports from the Advisory Council on the possible amendments to the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility to be voted on by the membership at the Annual Meeting in April. The Board also heard Executive Staff reports on the NFHS?Spirit of Sport Award nomination, the Let’s Connect Conference, a seasonal placements and competitive equity survey, efforts to recruit new officials and Area Meeting topics, as well as liaison updates from Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction, John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Tim Collins of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It will sponsor 24 championship tournament series in 2015-16. For more information, visit the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org or contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.
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