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Board cancels annual meeting, postpones decision on spring sports seasons

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control voted to cancel the 2020 annual meeting and to delay making a determination on the continuation or cancellation of the spring sports seasons and tournaments at a special meeting March 19.

Responding to a report by the chair of the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee, the board exercised its authority to make emergency decisions afforded by the membership’s Constitution to cancel the annual meeting scheduled for April 22. The decision is in response to the concern and efforts to prevent and control the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19.

The amendments to the membership’s Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility advanced to the annual meeting for a membership vote will be tabled and addressed at the annual meeting in April of 2021. The WIAA’s financial report and discussion of old and new business will be conducted at the 2020 area meetings in the fall.

Included in the list of proposed amendments that will be postponed for a year was another attempt by some WIAA member schools to address competitive equity in boys and girls basketball. The petition sought to combine a success factor and school free and reduced lunch rates while determining teams’ divisional placements in the tournament series.

A success factor proposed by a WIAA Ad Hoc Committee in 2016 failed by a vote of 221-198. A reducer was proposed at the 2015 annual meeting and was defeated 265-167.

Given the directives of Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services, and after lengthy discussion, the board decided to postpone any decision to cancel the spring sports seasons and the spring state tournament series until a later date. This position is consistent with the current state and local guidelines, as well as advice from the Sports Medical Advisory Committee. A clearer position may unfold as developments arise and new information becomes available. The WIAA will continue to follow the directives and guidance of state health and governmental officials pertaining to the outbreak.

The board received an update on the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic from Dr. Kevin Walter, who is the director of Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, associate professor at Wisconsin Medical College, and the chair of the Sports Medical Advisory Committee. Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association also provided reports related to developments associated with the virus.

The board also took no action on deciding whether to conduct the 2020 Scholar- Athlete Banquet at this time. The banquet is scheduled for Sunday, May 3.

The board discussed bringing closure to the 2020 winter seasons as result of the cancellations of the boys and girls state basketball tournament series. It determined how teams and athletes will be recognized in accordance with their advancement to the various levels of the tournaments.