Fall high school sports decision should come in the next two weeks

Fall sports in Wisconsin remain a question mark just two weeks from the start of high school football practice statewide.

Neighboring states have already made their declarations - Michigan is going to start a few weeks later than normal, and if it comes down to it, stack their three sports seasons to begin in November. Illinois is deferring to the government as the state association there deals with a lawsuit for summer contact guidance, while Iowa and Nebraska are full-go for the fall.

Wisconsin, in a way, is allowing as much time as possible for the government to step in and offer their recommendations, much like Minnesota is pending any action on fall sports until their governor offers a restart plan. Most athletic directors and coaches that have been in contact with iHeartMedia believe that without school board action, the bulk of the decisions will happen in the final days of July. While the WIAA may have an announcement as soon as this week, it's expected that the WIAA will allow conferences and schools to dictate their own terms of a return-to-play this fall, provided there's no government intervention.

It should be noted that as of this writing, the WIAA's stance is that things are proceeding as scheduled. There is no fall cancellation beyond a handful of summer camps, scrimmages, and Waunakee's non-conference football games that is public knowledge. However, there is a growing expectation that fall sports will be at least delayed by a couple of weeks, and perhaps as part of a plan that would move them to March through May.

That proposal was submitted by athletic directors from the southwestern part of Wisconsin. The plan calls for winter sports to begin in December, with games starting in January, followed by fall sports in March and spring sports in April and May. The idea is to give the state as much time as possible to be ready for a reopening while maintaining three sports seasons' worth of offerings for student-athletes. The WIAA Board of Control is considering the proposal this week.

Also, the Wisconsin Athletics Directors Association (WADA) is wrapping up a membership survey on fall sports options, to conclude on Friday. The WADA is meeting this week as well to discuss steps and to gauge where things stand just two weeks from the start of practice.

Conferences, athletic directors, and coaches believe formal announcements will arrive next week, with one conference (the Big 8, in Dane and Rock counties) stating that they will make an announcement on July 29, Most of this is based in the idea that the government will have to decide shortly what the fall plan is, just six weeks out from the start of instruction at some schools. It's also rooted in how the WIAA proceeds, so any conference-level announcement will likely be done with the WIAA in mind.

Some news may trickle out this week, especially at the school or conference level, but the full decision on fall sports is likely to arrive next week. It will be a big 10 or so days in the world of high school sports in Wisconsin.

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