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WIAA Membership to Get Down to Business at Annual Meeting

Friday, April 12, 2019

WIAA Membership to Get Down to Business at Annual Meeting

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association will conduct its 124th Annual Meeting at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Stevens Point Wednesday, April 17.

Among the topics on the Association’s business meeting agenda are seven proposed amendments to the membership’s Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility. Three of those seven impact the Constitution, one is Bylaw-related and three are associated with the Rules of Eligibility.

The first amendment to the Constitution mandates only WIAA members that are in good standing are eligible for the State Tournament Series. Schools belonging to another statewide Wisconsin athletic association are prohibited from participation in the Tournament Series. The corresponding language in the Bylaws would also prohibit any regular-season competition against nonmember schools that are eligible for membership but elect not to join, or against any member schools not in good standing.

The amendment received unanimous support for adoption from the Sports Advisory Committee, the Advisory Council and the Board of Control.

The second Constitutional amendment to be voted on by the membership involves a disciplinary alternative to existing penalties for rule violations. The amendment adds removing opportunities to host WIAA State Tournament Series contests from member schools to the list of penalties imposed for violating Association rules and regulations. If necessary, the Board of Control may strip schools of their opportunities to host tournament events for up to one year. 

The amendment serves as an intermediate step between placing schools on probation and removing them from State Tournament Series participation. The proposal received unanimous support for adoption from the Sports Advisory Committee, the Advisory Council and the Board of Control.

The third amendment proposed to the Constitution clarifies that the deadline for football-only conference realignment requests is Dec. 1 every even-numbered year if the plan is given final approval by the Board on April 16. This date provides the opportunity for the newly formed Conference Realignment Task Force to address requests on the prescribed timeline for review and implementation.

The one amendment that is Bylaw-related is related to the football-only conference realignment if the plan is approved by the Board. It clarifies that football sponsorship declarations, for both 8-player and 11-player programs, must be made by Dec. 1 in even-numbered years for football-only conference realignment consideration by the Conference Realignment Task Force.

Both amendments recognizing Dec. 1 as a deadline for co-ops and 8-player or 11-player declarations was supported unanimously by Sports Advisory Committee, the Advisory Council and the Board of Control.

The first amendment impacting the Rules of Eligibility provides unrestricted eligibility to transfer students who have had no previous participation in athletics, regardless if the transfer was made necessary by a total and complete change of residence of the parents. Student transfers would only receive unrestricted eligibility if they have never participated in a try-out, practice, scrimmage or contest on a school-sponsored team or club, or on any nonschool clubs in a WIAA-recognized sport while attending classes at any school from grades 9-12. 

The Sports Advisory Committee, the Advisory Council and the Board of Control all voted in unanimous support for ratifying the amendment.

The second amendment classified in the Rules of Eligibility restricts eligibility for transfer students with a pre-existing athletics relationship with anyone in the school the student is transferring into for one calendar year. However, the restriction will permit the transfer student with a pre-existing athletics relationship to practice with the school team during the period of ineligibility.

A pre-existing athletics relationship associated with the school the student is transferring into includes athletes on the same nonschool or club team; school coaches, administrators or parents working with nonschool teams; school coaches from previous schools; summer contact, whether school or nonschool; personal or private training from an athlete, coach, administrator or parents, as well as other relationships of influence. This restriction supersedes language referencing eligibility in situations where there is a total and complete change of residence by the student or parents.   

Transfer waiver requests for extenuating circumstances, which satisfies the criteria for granting unrestricted eligibility, will still apply.

Both the Sports Advisory Committee and the Board of Control voted unanimously to support the adoption of the amendment, and the Advisory Council voted 8-7 to narrowly support adding the proposed amendment into the Senior High Handbook.  

The final amendment to be acted on by the membership would create membership-wide uniformity in code of conduct requirements for student-athletes charged with a felony. If adopted, the change would declare a student, upon being charged and/or convicted of a felony, ineligible for all participation until the student has satisfied all of the requirements ordered by the court in declaring a sentence served, including probation, community service and any other court orders.

The Board of Control gave its unanimous support to the amendment. The Advisory Council voted 9-6 in approval of the proposal, and the Sports Advisory voted 10-1 in favor of transforming the amendment into rule.

The membership will also vote on a number of other editorial changes in the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility. The edits do not change any existing rules or interpretations of the rules. Instead, the editorial changes only serves as clarifications to existing rules or interpretations. The editorial changes all received unanimous support from the Board of Control.

Other Association business to be presented at the Annual Meeting include the Treasurer’s report, the status of the Board of Control and Advisory Council elections, the Director’s Report on the state of the Association, the introduction of the Spirit of Sport nominee and an open forum.

If schools have not yet registered to attend the meeting, which became a requirement for all new schools during  the probationary period, please contact the WIAA office to register. The meeting will again be live streamed on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network.

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