The WIAA held a special Board of Control meeting Thursday and a vote passed 8-3 proposing to have fall sports during the 2020 school year, in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In that proposal it is stated that all “low risk sports” — girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and boys and girls cross country — would begin practices the week of Aug. 17, while all “high risk sports” — football, boys soccer and volleyball — will begin practices the week of Sept. 7.
Included in that is the WIAA will work on opportunities for schools and conferences that cannot play sports in the fall.
WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson said his recommendation to the board is to move forward with fall sports in some capacity the best they can.
“If I had the magic wand, what I would propose is for those of our members that are available to do so, let’s go with the best we can. For those that aren’t available to do so, let’s go with a different plan; what I’m advocating for is as much flexibility and as much creativity, and direct staff to build implemented seasons that might occur at different times of the year,” he said.
The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association voted earlier in the week to start their season no earlier than Sept. 1, instead of the original date of Aug. 3, while having a six-game regular season and only three weeks of playoffs.
Anderson said 10 of the 11 Midwest states, with Illinois being the exception, are moving forward with fall sports as planned.
Meanwhile, whether or not there will be state tournaments at the end of the fall season has yet to be determined.
The WIAA needs to go as far as it can to provide opportunities and have a “culminating event,” according to Anderson. Depending on circumstances, they may need to look at regional championships or some other culminating event as opposed to state tournaments.
Board member Dr. Wayne Labecki clarified that their risk levels in guidance put out previously are not meant to correlate directly with the risk levels assigned by State Department of Health. He indicates the schools should be working w/ local health to determine what their environmental risk is. Labecki says it’s more important to coaches that there is an opportunity for kids to get back together, tournaments are a low priority in that regard.