A pair of proposals are circulating within the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association membership that would impact and in some cases limit the powers of the Board of Control, Advisory Council, and Sports Advisory groups.
The proposals are being presented to WIAA member schools with the goal of generating enough signatures to place them on the voting agenda at the Annual Meeting coming up in April of 2020.
Per the WIAA Constitution, one of the options for placing an amendment to the Constitution is "...by petition in writing by the district administrator or high school principal of at least 10 % of the member high schools."
School administrators have been frustrated in recent years by several proposals originating from the Sports Advisory Committees that were enacted by the Board of Control over objections by the Advisory Council, and by the impact those changes would have on schools, especially financially. Items such as the basketball shot clock, which was approved and then repealed by the Board after administrator feedback, the increase in the maximum number of basketball contests, the increase in time for soccer halves, and other items have been frequent points of contention.
In a letter to schools and conferences, the proponents of the two Constitutional changes lay out not only the requested language adjustments but the rationale.
The letter reads in part:
The petition is essentially proposing two changes--
1) All changes to maximum game limits as well as any WIAA adaptation to NFHS rules which would lead to a financial impact on schools must go to the annual meeting for a vote by the entire membership.
Rationale: There is a missing piece to the process in making these kinds of changes, that being the opinions of the AD's and impact on individual schools statewide are not collected. There have been several such changes in recent years that have involved financial impact such as the softball fence, 45 minute soccer halves, 18 minute basketball halves, shot clock, and 2 game increase in the basketball game limit. The reaction by AD's to the latter two basketball changes including the repeal of the shot clock and discussions of the additional two games at Area Meetings and WADA roundtables demonstrates the missing part of the process.
2) All changes in rules and regulations must pass the Advisory Council by majority vote before advancing to the Board of Control for a vote. Any amendments to proposals made and approved by the Board of Control must be sent back to the Advisory Council for approval.
Rationale: The current system allows for an "advisory" vote by both the Sports Advisory and Advisory Council but not one that stops a proposal from advancing if either group disapproves of the change. This essentially gives the Coaches Advisory groups direct access to the Board of Control with input given by the other two groups. This proposal would not allow a Board of Control vote if the Advisory Council defeats the change, and prevents a proposal from taking on a life of its own at the Board of Control level. It is interesting to note that neither the Coaches Advisory nor the Sports Advisory Committees are mentioned in the WIAA Constitution.
Should the proposals garner the necessary 10% of signatures (roughly 50 total schools would need to sign), they would be placed on the agenda at the WIAA Annual Meeting in April of 2020 for voting consideration. If placed on the agenda, a majority of schools in attendance would need to vote in favor of the changes for them to be enacted.
The full text and language of the proposals is below (highlighting added by WSN for better understanding of proposed changes):
WIAA Petition for 2020 Annual Meeting
We, the undersigned, propose the following amendment to the WIAA constitution with additions underlined:
Article VI—Powers and Duties of the Board of Control
The Board of Control shall have general control over all activity and persons involved with the official school teams in any sport sponsored by this Association.
The Board shall have sole authority to interpret the provisions of the CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS, and RULES of ELIGIBILITY, and any other regulations which are adopted.
a) The Board shall have the authority to make changes, whenever necessary, in rules and regulations of this Association, except the CONSTITUTION, BYLAWS, and RULES OF ELIGIBILITY. All changes to WIAA rules and regulations must first pass by majority vote of the WIAA Advisory Council before being advanced to the Board of Control. Any amendments made to proposals in rules and regulation changes made by the Board of Control must be returned to the Advisory Council for approval.
b) Any change approved by the Board of Control in maximum game/meet limits, or in WIAA adaptations to NFHS rules of sport, which by their enactment would result in additional cost to be incurred by schools, must be advanced to the Annual Meeting for a vote before taking effect.
The Board shall hear all appeals of decisions by the Executive Director….
Article VIII-Powers and Duties of the Advisory Council
Section 1 – Authority
The Advisory Council shall have the ability to initiate amendments for presentation to the membership of the Association.
The Advisory Council shall vote and approve by majority vote any changes in WIAA rules and regulations before proposals advance to the Board of Control.
Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.
For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.