STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Board of Control reviewed and approved several recommendations impacting the season regulations in a number of fall sports at its January meeting today.
The most notable of the four changes impacting soccer was the Board’s approval of a four division format for the State Tournament Series in the fall of 2013. Four schools will represent each division in the State Tournament. The move addresses the large enrollment disparities between the largest and smallest schools in Division 1. The new format places the largest 64 soccer playing schools in Division 1 and the next largest 64 schools in Division 2. The remaining number of schools will be divided equally in Divisions 3 and 4.
Other soccer items passed by the Board include allowing an individual to play 48 halves during a season when applying player participation limits; mandating game start times in the Tournament Series at 4 p.m. for fields with no lights and 7 p.m. for those with lights ; and requiring only white tape to be placed on socks of teams wearing white jerseys and socks, while permitting only dark tape on socks of teams wearing dark jerseys and socks.
A number of tennis recommendations were approved in order to be compliant with United States Tennis Association regulations. Beginning this spring, singles players must be offered a one-hour rest period between matches in all formats with two exceptions. A two-hour rest period must be offered when the best-of-three-sets format is used at outdoor venues and for indoor matches lasting more than 120 minutes using the best-of-three-sets format. For doubles, a 30-minute rest period between matches must be offered.
Furthermore, singles players in Flight 1 for Divisions 1 and 2 at the sectional level must play a super tiebreak instead of a final third set to be in compliance with new USTA regulations. The change in regulations also prompted the approval to move the Friday morning Division 1 singles matches at the State Individual Tournament to Thursday evening, which requires moving the start of the first-round matches Thursday to 10:30 a.m.
The fourth tennis recommendation approved by the Board places the top 16 seeds in Division 1 and the top eight seeds in Division 2 in the bracket versus the appropriate draw with the only stipulation being teammates will not play each other in the first round. All other former criteria will be removed.
Football had a number of recommendations approved to be implemented next season. With the regular-season reverting back to the nine-games schedule, the Board approved the coaches’ recommendation to issue equipment on Monday, Aug. 5 and practice to begin on Tuesday, Aug. 6, which will allow the first game to be played on Aug. 22.
Two of the football changes relate to playoff scheduling. The first declares Friday as the default day for games at Levels 1, 2 and 3 unless travel is more than 120 miles between opponents. By mutual agreement of the schools, the game may be played Saturday. The second establishes a 1 p.m. start time on Saturday for a game moved to a neutral site because of excessive travel--as determined by the WIAA. If schools mutually agree, the game may be played at an alternate time on Saturday.
An adjustment to the traditional “mercy rule” was also ratified. A running clock will continue in the fourth quarter even if the score differential goes below 35 points.
In addition, the Board approved language detailing the interpretation of the forfeiture policy when programs voluntarily abandon a conference without conference or WIAA approval and when programs eliminate their varsity schedule once the season has begun.
In other football-related action, the Board approved a $5 increase for the Thursday all-day ticket ($20) and the two-day tickets ($30). Prices for the Friday all-day ticket ($15) and a single game admission ($8) will not change.
In volleyball, a measure was passed requiring schools to vote to either retain the sectional half-bracket or revert to the regional groupings. The sectionals will be split into two regional groupings unless a majority of schools in the sectional half-bracket vote to retain the sectional half-bracket.
The lone swimming and diving coaches recommendation was approved. It requires individuals to compete in four meets throughout the regular season to be eligible for the WIAA State Tournament Series beginning next fall. In addition, a staff recommendation to increase the admission price to $4 for swimming and diving sectional meets next fall was approved by the Board.
Adoption of one recommendation in golf will allow electronic communication devices to be used by coaches to follow live scoring and for coach-to-coach text communication during competition. However, verbally communicating on electronic devices remains prohibited on the course. Implementation of the rule will begin this spring.
Through Board action, schools hosting sectional cross country meets this fall will be permitted to charge an entry fee of $25 per team and $5 per individual for incomplete teams. The measure is intended to offset the escalating expense to conduct the meets. In addition, a long-standing cross country coaches’ advisory committee recommendation to increase the number of medals awarded at the State Meet was granted. The top 10 individual places in each race will receive medals. The top six individual finishers have historically received medals.
A hearing for the Board’s first consideration of a conference realignment proposal involving the Coulee, Mississippi Valley and Southwest Wisconsin Conferences was postponed until the April 23 Board meeting.
The Board heard staff reports on the possibility of increasing tournament payments to officials, efforts to declare sport officials independent contractors, concerns with the number of checking from behind game disqualifications in hockey, items of interest from National Federation of State High School Associations and the progress of on-line ticketing.
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 507 senior high schools and 65 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It will sponsor 25 championship tournament series in 2012-13. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.
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