The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control ratified a number of fall sport coaches’ and committee recommendations and granted final approval of a massive realignment proposal affecting conference affiliations in the northeast and east central portions of the state at its January meeting.
Football registered the most recommendations and changes. The board approved an acclimatization plan that defines mandatory protocol for length and scheduling of pre-season and in-season practices beginning in 2014. It also increases the number of required practices for the gradual acclimation to full practice equipment.
Language in the football playoff qualifying criteria was altered to replace winning percentage of all games with the winning percentage in conference play only when the initial criteria to determine the field is less than 224 teams beginning next fall. In addition, the highest seeded team will now host through Level 3 of the playoffs with the stipulation that the WIAA reserves the final authority to determine locations.
The running clock guidelines have been modified to address point differentials of 35 points or more after the first quarter. With mutual consent of the participating coaches, running clock provisions may be implemented beginning at the start of the second quarter.
A change to the method used by the WIAA in identifying and declaring available playoff facilities was also supported by the board. In 2014, schools will automatically be placed on the list of available facilities if they are on the approved site list. Notification to the WIAA is only required when there is a change to the approved facilities status. The board also approved a requirement for all playoff game tape exchanges to be completed by 12:01 a.m. Sunday following the last game, and those coaches without HUDL must supply DVDs of game video.
There are three changes to the soccer regulations. The boys soccer season will start and end one week later beginning in the fall of 2015, and the regional dates will be moved from a Tuesday/Thursday schedule to Thursday/Saturday.
A waiver will be sought from the NFHS to experiment with 45-minute halves and eliminate the overtime during the regular season at the varsity level only. The tournament series will play 45-minute halves and two full 10-minute overtimes with no sudden victory. If a winner is not determined after two overtime periods, penalty kicks will break the tie.
A measure was also passed to require all seed meetings to be conducted face-to-face with the condition that if a school is 80 miles or further from the seed meeting site – which is also designated as the sectional final site – it may participate through electronic means.
Three changes that impact tennis include a mandate that once a team score reaches four points to determine a victor, a match tie-break for all remaining matches will be implemented. Another modification adjusts the order of play on Thursday of the State Individual Tournament to allow Division I to finish its scheduled singles and doubles matches before Division II matches begin. The third rule added allows coaching during any changeover – except after the first game of a set – for a maximum of 90 seconds.
The two changes for volleyball beginning in 2014 include an allowance for a sixth set emergency waiver for programs sponsoring only two levels and have less than 16 players between the two teams. Approval of the waiver from the conference and the WIAA will be required. In addition, all officials are now required to supply the line judge flags for their matches.
Both golf and swimming and diving had one recommendation from the coaches’ committees, and both were approved. In golf, the designated playoff holes at the girls and boys State Golf Championships will be hole one and hole nine beginning in the spring of 2014. Players will continue to play the two holes in succession until the tie is broken. In swimming and diving, an individual’s or relay team’s best time during the current season is required as the sectional entry times.
In addition to the sport-specific recommendations approved by the board, an executive staff recommendation to require coaches to report all player or coach game ejections to their school administration within 48 hours following the respective contest was passed. The measure also requires school administrators to submit a written report of the ejection to the WIAA within three school days following the contest.
In other board action, a pair of administrative policies were adopted. The first outlines the protocol for requests of information contained on forms and reports submitted to the WIAA executive office. The second provides a complimentary ticket to the athletic director and principal of schools participating in WIAA State Team Tournaments where space permits.