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WIAA Classification Committee rejects all but one winter sport Tournament Performance Factor appeal

04/15/2024, 10:00pm CDT
By Travis Wilson

Division 5 girls basketball champion Albany/Monticello was the only winter sports team to have their Tournament Performance Factor appeal approved

Last Wednesday the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's Classification Committee heard appeals of winter sports teams that were elevated due to the first year of the Competitive Balance Plan, as well as teams that requested up or down for placement as part of the initiative. has contacted all winter sports teams that met the six-point Tournament Performance Factor threshold for elevation to determine which schools appealed to the Classification Committee and the outcome of those appeals.

A total of 37 winter sports teams accumulated at least six points according to our calculations, though 13 of those were already in Division 1 and thus could not be elevated.

A full breakdown of points accumulated by teams, the teams that met the threshold for elevation, and which appealed can be found here.

Of the 24 teams that were eligible to appeal, 12 of them did so according to communications with However, just one team's request was approved by the Classification Committee, the Albany/Monticello girls basketball team. The Space Stallions, who won the D5 championship in 2024, appealed being promoted from Division 5 to Division 4, but with the successful review, will instead remain in Division 5 next year.

This was the first year of the Albany/Monticello co-op program. As a standalone team, Albany advanced to the sectional final in 2022 for one point and received two points for a state semi-final appearance last season. Per the WIAA constitutional amendment, points from both Albany and Monticello carried over to the new co-op. A four-point assignment for the Division 5 champions this year meant the team hit the six-point threshold. In the approval letter, the WIAA Classification Committee did not outline why the approval was granted, or if the new co-op program played a factor.

Of 24 fall sports teams that appealed their elevation, the only that was approved was the Wonewoc-Center girls volleyball team.

So far, with fall and winter sports in the books, a total of 99 teams have met the threshold for elevation. 64 of those were able to appeal (not Division 1), and 36 did so. Of the 36 teams that have appealed, only two have been approved.

WSN reached out to all 24 winter teams that were eligible to appeal their elevation over the last week, as the WIAA previously declined to provide information on which teams officially met the point threshold, which teams appealed their elevation, or the outcome of those appeals.

In addition to the Tournament Performance Factor, teams could also request to move up or down a division. According to the WIAA, eight girls basketball teams, six boys basketball teams, and two boys hockey teams requested to be moved down a division. The committee approved three of the girls basketball requests, two in boys basketball, and two in boys hockey.

Additionally, three boys hockey teams, one boys basketball team, and one girls basketball team requested to be moved up a division.

The WIAA has previously declined to provide information on which teams requested divisional placement up or down, or the outcome of those appeals to the Classification Committee.

WIAA Executive Director Stephanie Hauser indicated after the fall sports appeals that the Association would engage with the membership at next year's Area Meetings to determine if or how Classification Committee appeals and results will be released.

This is a significant departure from other WIAA processes, including Conference Realignment, where the Association posts publicly on its website a database of all teams that have requested to move conferences, the outcome of all conference realignment decisions by both the Conference Realignment Task Force and the Board of Control. The WIAA also makes available the multitude of data provided by requesting schools, including rationale for moves, letters from other schools impacted by the requests, suggested alternative plans, and much more.

Before we will review the background of the competitive balance plan.

Competitive Balance Plan Background

After years of discussions and debates, the WIAA passed a competitive balance plan at April's Area Meeting that consisted of two main components. First, a Tournament Performance Factor that moves teams up a division based on previous success.

The second part of the plan allows all teams to request to move down or up a division, with certain factors they can base their appeal on to justify a change. 

The Tournament Performance Factor uses a points-based system to determine if teams will move up a division based on past success and is applied equally to public schools and private schools.

Points are awarded based upon the finish of the team in the tournament series. For bracketed sports, here are how points are assigned:

  • 4 points for winning a state title
  • 3 points for advancing to the championship game
  • 2 points for advancing to the state semifinal (final 4)
  • 1 point for advancing to the state quarterfinal, sectional final or Level 3 11-player FB, Level 2 8-player FB (final 8 teams).

Non-bracketed sports are slightly different and fully outlined here.

The sports of swimming & diving as well as track & field are not included in the Tournament Performance Factor and thus teams cannot move up or down in those sports based on postseason success. Also, the sports of girls wrestling, girls hockey, boys volleyball, and 8-player football are single-division sports and thus are not applicable currently either.

At the team level, those teams that accumulate six or more points in the previous three years will be placed up one division from their normal postseason classification. No team will be moved up more than one division per year. If a team is moved up under the Tournament Performance Factor and in future years their trailing three-year point total falls below six points, they will be moved back down, unless their enrollment places them in a higher division.

There will be an appeals process in place for those teams that would be impacted by the Tournament Performance Factor, with schools able to appeal to a Classification Committee based on the following factors:

  • Prior year out-of-building student percentage on rosters or historical movement of student athletes
  • Socioeconomics of the school's population (i.e. % of student body on Free and Reduced Lunch rate)
  • Demographics of the school's population
  • Competitive history and balance - non-success and success
  • Geography
  • School's enrollment trend
  • Student participation rate in WIAA-sponsored activities
  • Student enrollment factors (i.e. open enrollment, students from outside your school's location)

The appeal window for fall sports teams impacted by Tournament Performance Factor points as well as for schools to request up or down opened on March 13th and closed on April 1st. 

About the Author

Travis Wilson serves as the 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 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), inducted to the Richland Center High School Hall of Fame in 2023, and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.

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