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WIAA Gives Initial Approval to Massive Realignment that Impacts Many NE Wisconsin Schools

The WIAA Board of Control approved a first consideration to an alignment plan that would shake up many area high school athletic conferences
(WFRV-TV) - Courtesy WIAA

The Board of Control approved the first consideration of a massive realignment proposal affecting conference affiliations in the northeast and east central portions of the state and addressed a number of other action items at its December meeting today.
    
The conference realignment proposal impacts 76 schools in eight leagues. The plan would reduce the Bay Conference to an eight-team league consisting of Green Bay East, Green Bay West, Menasha, New London, Seymour, Shawano, West De Pere and Xavier. Waupaca would be added for football only, making it a nine-team conference for football.
    
The move of Green Bay East and Green Bay West to the Bay Conference would reduce the Fox River Classic to a 10-team conference including Ashwaubenon, Bay Port, De Pere, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Manitowoc Lincoln, Notre Dame, Pulaski, Sheboygan North and Sheboygan South.
    
A revamped Eastern Valley Conference would combine Clintonville, Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom, Little Chute and Waupaca (except football) with Denmark, Luxemburg-Casco, Marinette and Oconto Falls from the Bay Conference, as well as Wrightstown from the Olympian Conference to create a 10-school league.
    
A revised eight-team Eastern Wisconsin Conference would be formed to include current members Kiel, New Holstein, Sheboygan Falls and Two Rivers while moving Brillion, Chilton, Roncalli and Valders from the Olympian Conference. The proposal also adds Oneida Nation to the Marinette and Oconto Conference, making it a 10-team league that also includes Coleman, Crivitz, Gillett, Lena, Niagara, Peshtigo, St. Thomas Aquinas, Suring and Wausaukee.
    
Another proposed conference would combine the Central Lakeshore Conference with a number of Olympian Conference members to form a 14-team league consisting of Cedar Grove-Belgium, Elkhart Lake Glenbeulah, Hilbert, Howards Grove, Kohler, Manitowoc Lutheran, Mishicot, Oostburg, Ozaukee, Random Lake, Reedsville, St. Mary Central, Sheboygan Area Lutheran and Sheboygan County Christian.
    
A conference will be created that includes Campbellsport, Kewaskum, Plymouth and Waupun from the Eastern Wisconsin Conference; Berlin, Ripon and Winneconne from the Eastern Valley Conference; and Kettle Moraine Lutheran from the Wisconsin Flyway Conference to create a new eight-team league.    
    
The composition of the Packerland Conference will remain unchanged, unlike a previous draft of the plan. In addition–with the exception of Kettle Moraine Lutheran moving to a different conference–the Wisconsin Flyway Conference will remain intact with the addition of St. Lawrence Seminary to maintain an eight-school structure in the sports that school sponsors.    
   
 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 Jan. 15, 2014, to file an appeal of the Board’s initial vote. The Board’s final action on the realignment plans will be at its Jan. 29 meeting when it can either approve of reject the plan.
    
In other Board action, it accepted the 2012-13 independent audit and Form 990. It also approved an Executive Staff recommendation to provide emergency relief to allow member schools–attempting to maintain two levels of participation with 10 or fewer basketball players–to play six quarters when both levels are played on the same day.
    
Additionally, the Board agreed to move the starting times of the 2014 State Wrestling Team Tournament on Saturday to 3 p.m. from 3:30 p.m. to accommodate the Big 10 Wrestling Championship that evening and supported the appointments to the hockey and volleyball coaches advisory committees.
   
The Board received staff reports on the possible amendments to the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility to be voted on by the membership in April, as well as a review of the fall Tournament Series. In addition, it received updates from the liaisons from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
    
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 506 senior high schools and 70 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It will sponsor 25 championship tournament series in 2013-14. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.


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