STEVENS POINT -- The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control reviewed and approved committee recommendations for winter sports and a baseball pitch count restriction at its recent June meeting.
The Board approved a recommendation to conduct a two-year experiment to seed the State Boys Hockey Tournament beginning in 2017-18. Coaches will seed the top four teams with the remaining four teams being matched-up against the seeded teams by a random draw. Boys hockey will join boys volleyball as the only WIAA sports to reseed once teams have qualified for the State Tournament.
A Medical Advisory Committee recommendation to use the guidelines established with Pitch Smart for middle school players, as well as a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association proposal for the required days of rest and a maximum pitch count of 100 for high school players–with an allowance to finish the batter–was passed by the Board. Pitchers reaching the maximum 100-pitch count in a game will require a three-day rest.
Two wrestling coaches’ recommendations were acted into rules. The first, which was also approved by the Medical Advisory, reduces the required number of practices before the first match from 10 to eight if and when a later start date is implemented. Second, assistant referees will now be used at the sectional level in Division 1 for second-place wrestleback matches and for Divisions 2 and 3 third-place matches.
In addition, the 7% Committee and Medical Advisory recommendation to move in compliance with the NFHS weight allowance received support by the Board. The current one-half pound per day weight loss allowance will be replaced by the NFHS 1.5 percent weight-loss-per-week guidelines. The implementation of the change will occur in 2017-18.
Five basketball recommendations received Board approval. After a one-year experiment with 18-minute halves for varsity games, the format becomes permanent in 2016-17. The Board also supported a recommendation for a one-year experiment that allows schools to use players in three halves per night in 2016-17. In addition, pre-game warm-up time for varsity games will be reduced from 20 minutes to 15 beginning next year.
The Board approved an amended recommendation that requires representatives of the entire grouping to meet as a group at basketball seed meetings. Other basketball action provides Sectional 1 in Division 1 the opportunity to vote to determine its bracket design beginning in 2016-17. A majority vote would be required to split the group into two regional groupings.
The Board ratified spring cooperative programs for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, as well as revisions to sportsmanship reference materials recommended by the Sportsmanship Committee. The modifications include creation of a flyer providing a sportsmanship overview and an online resource to replace the Sportsmanship Reference Guide.
The Board supported first consideration of a conference realignment proposal that moves Northland Lutheran and Pittsville from the Marawood Conference to the Central Wisconsin Conference for all sports beginning in the fall of 2017. The plan also places Wisconsin Valley Lutheran in the Central Wisconsin Conference. Membership rules require a 40-day window for schools involved in conference realignment plans to appeal the first consideration of the Board before it takes final action. Thus, schools have until Aug. 2, 2016, to file an appeal of the Board’s initial vote. The Board is scheduled to take final action on the plan at its Aug. 12 meeting.
Approval was also afforded to the customary procedural items and financial statements. The Board also discussed the 2016 spring State Tournaments, the 2016 Annual Meeting, the conference realignment process, development of an Award of Excellence for the member schools, excessive travel, possible 2016 Area Meeting topics, potential Constitution items for the 2017 Annual Meeting; and awareness of the new amnesty legislation and its impact on language contained in school codes.
The Board also received liaison reports from John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Tim Collins of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.