In July of last year, the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA), working at the direction of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA), released a football-only conference realignment proposal with anticipated implementation beginning in the 2020 season.
At that time, it was understood that adjustments to the conference assignments from that initial proposal would need to be made to account for programs leaving for 8-Player Football or new or adjusted cooperative teams.
On Friday, the WFCA and WIAA released the updated conference assignments, which did result in changes in some areas. A total of 18 programs will be moving from 11-Player Football to 8-Player Football in either 2019 or 2020, and there are several adjusted co-ops as well.
As a reminder, the WFCA plan calls for all leagues in the state to feature either eight or seven teams. The eight-team leagues would play a round-robin conference schedules in Weeks 3 through 9. The seven-team leagues are partnered up with another conference similar in size and geography, with each team playing one mandated crossover. Those seven-team "sister conferences" are placed next to each other on the form below and highlighted in the same color.
The new conference assignments were discussed and formalized at a joint WFCA/WIAA meeting on Wednesday, February 6th. The revised assignments have been provided to all schools by the WIAA and sent by the WFCA to all coaches as well.
The proposal will now move to the WIAA Board of Control for approval at their March 1st meeting. Schools will have the ability to provide feedback and/or express their support or resistance to the plan at that time. If approved, there will be a 40-day official appeal window, as it is a conference realignment matter. Final approval then would be voted on at the April 16th Board of Control meeting.
As a member of the WFCA Executive Board, I have been involved in the football-only realignment process since the beginning stages back in January of 2018.
Below is the text of a letter sent by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association to all members:
On February 6th, 2019, representatives from the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) met with representatives from the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to finalize the football-only conference assignment recommendations after receiving updated eight-player and co-op declarations for the 2020 season. From the previous plan released in July of 2018, several schools and conferences were impacted by the adjustments. The committee also re-analyzed some previous assignments and reviewed feedback from those involved, adjusting a small number of other teams and conferences, where doing so did not create additional challenges.
The WFCA and WIAA have put a significant amount of time and effort into this process, forming a statewide plan that will provide uniformity for the number of schools in conference, the number of conference games played, and the process for schools to request relief moving forward. It is understood that some schools may not be thrilled with their placement, but the WIAA will have procedures in place to handle requests for relief going forward.
The WFCA asks its membership to support this plan, which we feel is in the best interests of high school football overall.
A few notes and reminders regarding the Football-Only Conference Realignment Proposal:
Lower-Level Football: Schools will have the opportunity to schedule their lower level games working through their Athletic Director and Conference Commissioners on what they feel works best for their situation.
Conference Names and Conference Commissioners: Where needed, a new name for the conference should be selected by schools involved. Existing conference commissioners will oversee the leagues, with any re-organized leagues needing to appoint a new commissioner.
All-Conference Teams: All-Conference teams will be handled within each league, with each conference determining their own process. The WFCA strongly encourages conferences to align their positions on All-Conference teams with those of the WFCA All-Region and All-State teams.
Scheduling: Every team will play seven conference games, with those conference games coming in Weeks 3 thru 9. Weeks 1 and 2 will be non-conference games for every team in the state where they can set their own schedule.
Note: All football-only conferences are single leagues and not paired with any other conference with the exception of playing a crossover game between the seven school sister conferences indicated. For instance, each division of the VFA, FRCC, Woodland, Capitol, Badgers, etc. are considered separate conferences and movement between those conferences would require going through the WIAA-designated process.
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