It would appear that 8-Player Football has reached a tipping point in the state of Wisconsin, with the number of teams increasingly significantly over the next two years.
The 2018 season began with 32 teams in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association sponsoring 8-Player Football, a number that had grown, but slowly since the option became available in 2012, when 16 teams first made the leap.
The deadline for teams to submit to move to 8-Player for 2019 and 2020 was December 1st, and 11 new teams have filed official paperwork for 2019, with seven more set to begin in 2020.
As a result, the total number of 8-Player teams will swell from 32 in 2018 to 41 in 2019 and at least 48 in 2020.
New teams sponsoring 8-Player Football in 2019 are:
Saint Mary Catholic/Valley Christian
In addition, the following teams have announced intentions to move to 8-Player Football in 2020: Gilman, Greenwood, Kickapoo, La Farge, North Crawford, Weston, and Wonewoc.
There is a chance that Kickapoo and La Farge could continue to co-op, something they've done in 11-man football for the better part of a decade.
Of note, Oneida Nation, who played as a standalone 8-Player program last year, will move to a co-op with Green Bay NEW Lutheran and Providence Academy beginning in 2019, while Menominee Indian will move to 11-player football.
Not all the teams making the move to 8-Player will be eligible for the 8-Player tournament, which will expand from eight teams to 16 beginning in 2019. Algoma (234), Chequamegon (249), Saint Mary Catholic/Valley Christian (315), and Williams Bay (206) have three-year enrollment averages above 200, which makes them ineligible. Phillips, Washburn/Bayfield, and Wisconsin Heights are previous 8-Player teams who have larger enrollments and have not been eligible for the playoffs and will continue to be ineligible, unless their enrollments decrease. The new Green Bay NEW Lutheran/Oneida Nation/Providence Academy co-op will be ineligible as well with a combined three-year enrollment average of 275.
The 2018 season marked the first time the WIAA sponsored an official 8-Player tournament, as eight teams qualified for the playoffs. Sevastopol topped Luck 38-30 to claim the first 8-Player title. Since the total number of 8-Player teams exceeded 30 in the 2018 season, the WIAA will expand the playoffs to 16 qualifiers in 2019 and going forward.
The full list of 8-Player teams for the 2019 and 2020 seasons is below.
|Team||3-Yr Enroll Avg||New in 2019||Will begin 2020|
|Abundant Life/St. Ambrose||75|
|Green Bay NEW Lutheran/Oneida Nation/Providence Academy *||275|
|Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas||132|
|Alma Center Lincoln||168|
|Saint Mary Catholic/Valley Christian *||315||x|
|Williams Bay *||206||x|
|Wisconsin Heights *||229|
* - Three-year enrollment average of more than 200 and therefore ineligible for playoffs
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