View from the cheap seats
A weekly perspective on sports
Casey Krautkramer Reporter The Record-Review
Marawood Conference football fans knew the conference alignment was bound to keep changing in the future, as smaller schools like Athens, Owen-Withee and Thorp continue to see their student enrollment decline.
It turns out these three schools have made requests to the WIAA to switch from playing 11-man football to eightman football beginning next season.
A large class of Athens High School football players will graduate this spring, and there aren’t as many freshmen players entering high school next school year to replace them all.
The Athens School District has witnessed thinner than normal student enrollment in its middle school grades the last couple of years, and now these student athletes are coming into the high school. The future is much brighter for the Athens School District, however, as it attempts to bring in the Maple Grove Elementary School students next school year.
Athens School District has also seen a nice increase in its number of 4K students the past couple of years, but it’ll be several years before these kids are old enough to play high school football.
It turns out the WIAA’s proposed football conference alignment consists of former Cloverwood Conference football schools Athens, Gilman, Greenwood, Owen-Withee and Thorp forming an eight-man conference with Alma Center.
Athens got a taste of how eight-man football is played when it scrimmaged against Auburndale before this fall’s season began. Auburndale switched from playing 11 man to eight-man football for only this past season.
Auburndale will return to playing 11-man football in the Marawood Conference next season, and traditional Marawood Conference school Pittsville would rejoin the conference for football only next season.
The new six football school Central Wisconsin Small Conference, which Pittsville was a member of the past few seasons, would be a sister conference to the six football school Marawood next season and in the future.
This means football teams in the Marawood and Central Wisconsin Small would play crossover games against each other during the season, in order to fill out their schedules.
The Central Wisconsin Small Conference consists of Wisconsin Rapids Assumption, Iola-Scandinavia, Loyal, Stevens Point Pacelli, Rosholt and Wild Rose.
The WIAA’s conference realignment task force will review the plans at its next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
If conference realignment plans advance from the January meeting, then the WIAA Board of Control will review them and make a final decision on each of the proposals at its meeting on Friday, March 5, 2021.