WIAA June Board of Control Recap: Girls wrestling tournament approved

Wednesday's three-hour Board of Control Meeting by the WIAA was packed full of information and highlights.

The day's high school news cycle began when WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson told the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Education that fall sports are not canceled, although he did suggest the ongoing pandemic could change that status.

Anderson, along with Deputy Director Wade Labecki, also suggested that sport-specific guidelines for a return-to-play could be issued as soon as this week.

Discussion in the Assembly meeting also turned towards potential scenarios in which schools may have canceled sports, and what the WIAA would do under mass-transfer scenarios in that event. Anderson offered the Board of Control the same explanation he gave the Assembly, in that a school not offering a sport is not a sufficient reason to grant a transfer waiver.

At the Board of Control meeting, the Board voted quickly on the first eight measures it saw.

First up was a lone gymnastics measure, which passed unanimously:

Hockey was next up with five total measures on the table. The two-division format in boys hockey was decided to be permanent moving forward; Verona and St. Mary's Springs won the state titles last year, the first with two divisions. However, a measure to split up participating teams evenly between the divisions failed unanimously, leaving Division 1 with 52 teams and Division 2 with 32 teams.

State hockey will also be seeded by coaches in each division. A measure to have four officials for all sectional and state games failed.

The final measure, which passed, involved overtime rules:

Wrestling had three items up. The first two passed with a quick vote, one which gave coaches a start time option in Division 2 and 3 sectionals and one that allows TrackWrestling to randomly place individual wrestlers in Division 2 and 3 for the individual state tournament.

Then, a long discussion began on a coaches' advisory proposal to sanction girls wrestling took over the bulk of the meeting.

The proposal that was voted down by the sports advisory committee on Tuesday 13-2 called for integration of a girls state tournament in wrestling to begin with the upcoming school year. Initial debate centered around how it would have to bass bylaws to be added as a sport, which most notably includes a 5% participation rate by member schools. It was the participation figure that had the sports advisory committee voting against the measure. However, midway through the debate, the discussion turned on two points. First, that it would be added in 2021-2022, and second, that the tournament series would not be adding a new sport subject to WIAA bylaws.

While more details are yet to be released, the first step towards girls wrestling as a sport in Wisconsin was decided with a 10-0 vote, making way for girls wrestling to have a standalone tournament series in 2022. Girls and boys can compete on the same teams during the regular season, but will part ways once the playoffs begin. In sanctioning a state tournament, Wisconsin became the 26th state to add the sport in some capacity.

The WIAA also passed along a recommendation for computerized seeding of the boys and girls basketball tournaments to be implemented by 2021-22, and added one member to the conference realignment task force.

Financial matters centered around limiting reimbursements for state tournament travel, ticket price increases for WIAA events, and going to virtual meetings to save on costs.

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