On Tuesday afternoon, the Big Eight Conference, which includes the schools in and around Madison, announced that it will cancel all conference competitions for all fall sports.
"Since all member schools are not able to participate fully in conference contests during current fall season dates as scheduled, Big 8 Conference competitions will not be held and conference champions will not be named," read a release from the conference.
In recent days, the school districts of Madison, which includes four Big Eight Conference schools, Sun Prairie, and Middleton announced they would begin the school year with virtual instruction. While sports technically could be offered in those locations per WIAA rules, it is unlikely that would occur. With most of the conference unable to play, the league voted 10-0 to cancel all league competitions.
The release does specifically state that schools do have the option to schedule non-conference competitions for fall sports "so long as they follow the guidance from the WIAA and local public health officials."
The conference announcement does support fall sports coaches providing virtual instruction during the established fall sports seasons to assist athletes with training, conditioning, and skill development.
Also Tuesday afternoon, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association announced that its Board of Control will hold a special virtual business meeting on Thursday, July 23rd at 9 am to address the fall sports season and provide consideration for a recent school-based proposal that would push fall sports into the spring of 2021, and move spring sports to the summertime on a one-year basis.
That proposal was developed by a group of schools in the southwest part of the state representing CESA #3. In the face of significant uncertainty around what schooling and high school athletics could look like this fall as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, this proposed change would be a one-time adjustment to the 2020-21 athletics calendar.
Under the plan, all fall sports would be delayed until spring of 2021. Winter sports would then be the first athletic competitions to be held, either on the normal calendar or delayed until January of 2021. The winter tournament series' would remain on the normal schedule.
The plan suggests fall sports would then begin in March, though it is unclear if they would get underway at the beginning of the month, which would allow for a longer fall sports season, or start after all winter sports tournaments are completed. The plan would have fall sports go until late May.
Spring sports would begin at the end of May and continue through July under the proposed timeline.
Such a proposal could result in shortened seasons and less games in some fall or spring sports, though the timing could be tweaked to allow for more contests.
The Board of Control has the final authority on how to address fall sports, and could approve, reject, or modify the southwest proposal on Thursday.
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.
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