(WFRV) – Wisconsin will move forward with fall sports.
The WIAA ruled to delay the start of high school football, volleyball and boys soccer until the week of September 7, with cross country, girls swimming, girls golf and girls tennis to begin August 17.
The ruling gives the WIAA the flexibility to allow certain schools that can’t compete to move their seasons to the spring.
Read the story below for a full rundown of the WIAA Board of Control meeting and what ultimately led to the decision.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control meets virtually Thursday morning to discuss the fate of high school fall sports in the state.
The Board is also considering a proposal from schools in the southwest portion of the state to move fall sports to the spring, so as to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay tuned to this web story for live updates throughout the meeting, set to start at 9:00 a.m. CT.
- This being the first meeting of the new school year, the Board affirmed Eric Russell as the new president for the academic year.
- Dr. Kevin Walter, of the WIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Council, said we have to learn to live with the virus, and although sports will look differently amid the pandemic, Wisconsin has been doing the right things in bringing sports back so far.
- Walter argued students will be safer with these sanctioned activities and said the WIAA is in the best position to oversee sports and mitigate risk.
- In a survey sent out to 358 superintendents by the WIAA, there was overwhelming support in favor of moving the fall sports season to the spring, and the spring season to the summer.
- More than 50 percent of respondents voted in favor of something similar to the season-change schedule (“Southwest proposal”), the highest voting mark of the four options.
- Softball coaches are united against the Southwest proposal.
- Volleyball coaches have not taken a position on the proposal.
- Gymnastics coaches have not taken a position on the proposal.
- Girls golf, tennis and swimming coaches are in favor of starting the fall sports season as soon as possible.
- Boys golf is in favor of keeping the schedule the same and not moving spring sports to summer.
- The vast majority of cross country and track coaches voted in favor of keeping the schedule as is, speaking out especially against a summer track season.
- Boys and girls soccer coaches are against moving the season, and boys soccer coaches are concerned they wouldn’t be able to field teams in the spring due to club competition.
- Baseball coaches are strongly against moving the season.
- The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association is unanimously proposing a seven-game regular season, with practices to begin no earlier than September 1.
- The schedule would have room for six conference games and one non-conference game.
- Playoff participants would be determined by WIAA qualifiers.
- WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson said the state may not have true “state championships” this year, and that they may need to move to regional championships or some other culminating event.
- Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association reps say “we need a decision today.”
- WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson recommends schools moving forward with fall sports the best that they can, and the schools that can’t move forward should explore contingency plans to still play.
- The WIAA says high school sports would be able to start regardless of in-person instruction, because schools still have eligible full-time students virtually.
- A motion is on the table.
- The proposal would start football, volleyball and boys soccer on September 7.
- Girls golf, swimming, tennis and cross country would start August 17.
- Phil Ertl proposed an amendment to move football, volleyball and boys soccer up two weeks, to August 24. Paul Pedersen seconded the amendment.
- The amendment failed 9-2.
The Board of Control approved a motion to delay football, volleyball and boys soccer to a September 7 start. Cross country, girls golf, girls swimming and girls tennis will start August 17. The ruling gives the WIAA flexibility to provide contingency models for schools unable to compete this fall.