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WIAA Board of Control votes to revisit shot clock at December meeting & passes early practice for baseball pitchers

10/06/2017, 3:45pm CDT

From the WIAA -- 

The Board of Control acted on coaches’ recommendations impacting the spring season sports regulations, voted to revisit the implementation of the basketball shot clock and passed the 2017-18 operational budget at its October meeting today. 

Two recommendations in track and field were ratified by the Board. The first is a two-year experiment impacting tournament placement in 2019 and 2020. The largest 128 schools will be assigned to Division 1, and the next largest 136 schools will be placed in Division 2. The remainder of schools will comprise Division 3. Currently, the largest 138 schools are in Division 1 with the remaining schools divided equally by enrollment between Divisions 2 and 3. 

The other track and field recommendation receiving Board support prescribes the same procedures used in the able-bodied 400-, 800-, and 1600-meter races to be used for the wheelchair races in those events.

In softball, the Board supported a recommendation to seed the State Tournament in Division 1 beginning in 2018. The WIAA will conduct a teleconference with the eight coaches of qualifying teams to determine the top four seeds with the remaining four teams to be randomly drawn and placed in the bracket. The four qualifying teams in Divisions 2-5 will continue to use predetermined placements in the bracket.

In addition, the schedule of regional games of the softball tournament series will be altered in 2019. In the current schedule, all regional games are played in the same week. The new format moves the first-round games in Divisions 2-5 to Thursday the week prior to the current schedule. All divisions will continue regional play on the following Tuesday and Thursday. The Board also approved an amended recommendation for an increase to the maximum roster limits allowed to request an extra-inning waiver from 18 to 20.

After repeated requests from the baseball coaches advisory committee, the Board approved the recommendation to allow pitching-only instruction the week prior to the official start of practice for spring and summer baseball beginning in 2018. Coaches will be permitted to work with each pitcher up to two hours for five days the week prior to the first allowed practice. The Board also passed a baseball recommendation for a one-year experiment to move the seed meetings one week later for Division 1.

The Board’s decision to revisit the 35-second shot clock at its Dec. 1 meeting comes after discussion and input received at this fall’s Area Meetings. The Board voted to implement the use of the shot clock for varsity games beginning with the 2019-20 season at its June meeting. At the August Board meeting, it voted to not revisit its decision until after receiving membership feedback from the Area Meetings.

The approval of the $9.25 million operational budget for 2017-18 reflects an estimated increase in revenue with a $1 increase in regional ticket prices, as well as an increase in planned expenses, which includes providing all student-athletes in member schools with concussion insurance and all student-athletes and officials with catastrophic health insurance.

Other action items included approval of a two-year NFHS liaison position on the Board of Control. The term of former Board president Pam Foegen ends in 2018; however, her term on the NFHS Board of Directors expires in 2020. Her ad-hoc position will provide the association with direct representation of NFHS matters to the Board. 

The Board also approved the one-year appointment of Bill Loss, principal of Watertown High School, to fill the vacancy on the 2017-18 Advisory Council as a large-school representative.

Other topics presented in the executive staff reports to the Board were a review of the Area Meeting discussions addressing the football playoffs, rural/urban basketball plan, membership requirements, potential constitutional amendments and topics introduced in the open forums. 

The Board received liaison reports from Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction and Peggy Seegers-Braun of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association. 

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 512 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2017-18.

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