Board approves unprecedented winter sports regulations at June meeting
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT — The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control reviewed and acted on coaches’ committee recommendations impacting winter sports, including two unparalleled decisions, at its June meeting.
In the first unprecedented move, the Board approved a coaches recommendation in an attempt to address cooperative team concerns in gymnastics. Beginning in 2019-20, a co-op team would only be eligible for the tournament series if it includes only two schools or if the combined enrollment of the co-op program is less than the largest stand-alone school program in the respective divisional placement. Individual competitors from ineligible co-ops will be eligible for the individual competition only.
The second unique decision adds language to the season regulations in wrestling that allows teams with eight or fewer wrestlers that submit, and are approved for, a waiver to scrimmage with other schools with eight or fewer wrestlers up to two times per week during the regular season beginning in 2018-19.
The Board approved six other wrestling recommendations into the season regulations. Two of the items involve junior varsity programs. One allows junior varsity wrestlers to represent the team in a junior varsity dual and exhibition on the same night subject to the individual participation limitations. The other adds a Wisconsin adaptation that allows junior varsity dual meets to reduce the number of NFHS weight classes. Both regulations take effect in next season.
Two other approved recommendations in wrestling addresses seeding the State Team Wrestling Tournament. The first moves the seed meeting to the Saturday morning of the State individual tournament. The second eliminates the random draw aspect of the seeding to now seed all eight Division 1 and all four Divisions 2 and 3 qualifying teams.
The remaining two approved recommendations eliminates the triplicate weigh-in sheet for dual meets and removes language that addresses substituting wrestlers in the State individual tournament. Beginning in 2018-19, the next qualifying individual will advance if an opening in the bracket occurs, except in the case of a wrestler not making weight or being disqualified for a skin condition.
Four hockey recommendations received approval from the Board. In an ongoing trend to seed State tournaments, boys hockey coaches of teams advancing to the tournament quarterfinals will determine the seeds for the eight qualifying boys teams, and the four coaches of the teams advancing to the girls State tournament semifinals will seed the four qualifying girls teams beginning in 2018-19. In 2020 when the boys tournament transitions to four teams in two divisions, the boys coaches in each division will seed all four teams in each bracket.
In another seeding-related item in hockey, the highest-seeded team will be designated the home team throughout the entire tournament series. The highest-seeded team will wear white uniforms and have the final line change beginning next season.
Other hockey items passed by the Board include a requirement of a two-year commitment for programs opting to play up a division and to allow 22 players in uniform and a maximum of two high school student managers, four coaches and one medical person on the bench during the tournament series.
The Board approved two additional recommendations in gymnastics. They voted to permit a replacement for a gymnast who has qualified for the State tournament but is unable to participate at State. The substitution is limited to only the sixth-place finisher in the respective event at the sectional competition.
Also approved was the recommendation to utilize the Capital Cup format, replacing the current Modified Capital Cup format, for the team and individual competitions at the State Gymnastics Championships beginning in 2019.
Of the numerous basketball recommendations considered by the Board, three were approved. One adds the language “If there are an uneven number of schools for Divisions 3 and 4, Division 4 will include one more school than Division 3” to the current tournament procedures.
The other action items passed in basketball limits schools to no more than two representatives at seed meetings, and a requirement to have coaches enter a player’s statistics on December 20, January 20 and February 20 to be eligible for the WIAA 3-Point Challenge.
The Board also ratified spring cooperative programs for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, winter sports season statements, general fund financial statements and payments, football early start waivers for this fall and a spending resolution during development of the 2018-19 operational budget. It also approved a special election for the 2018-19 gender at-large representative on the Board of Control and the nonpublic school at-large representative on the Advisory Council. The election will be held as soon as it can be administratively processed.
Among the additional discussions were a review of the 2018 spring State tournaments, the 2018 New Athletic Director Workshop, football-only conference realignment, a reminder of the 16-team nonconference tournament prohibition in basketball, possible 2018 Area Meeting topics, and potential Constitution items for the 2019 Annual Meeting.
The Board also received liaison reports from John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Jeremy Schlitz of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 512 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2017-18. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.