Dear Member Schools,
In recent days, during the boys’ basketball tournament series, decisions made by WIAA licensed officials have come under scrutiny. In fact, in one case, a temporary restraining order was put into place by the court, preventing the WIAA from applying the rules set forth by the 516 schools in our membership. This order disrupted the tournament schedule to allow the team to continue competing in the tournament series.
It is important to note that WIAA executive staff has determined that the game officials have properly applied all WIAA and NFHS rules and procedures. These rules are member driven and are reviewed and updated annually. Therefore, the trend of member schools appealing calls made by onsite officials to the courts undermines not only those officials, but also the rules that are in place. We are deeply troubled by this trend.
Our organization has bylaws, policies, and structures for handling grievances. When our membership chooses to circumvent these procedures, all that has been built by the membership over the years gets undermined, thereby weakening the association’s governance.
In response to the situation, the WIAA Board of Control has issued the following statement:
The WIAA Board of Control staunchly supports the WIAA staff and the licensed game officials. With respect to a team being put back into the tournament series by order of the court, we are committed to doing all we can to address the situation in the appropriate manner and time frame.
While it is unfortunate that this issue may cause some to question the integrity of this year’s boys’ basketball state tournament, we ask that all member schools do what they can to support thestudent-athletes participating. Please know that we will use any and all available options necessary to ensure that the membership rules are enforced and all tournament results are valid.
Above all else, the Board of Control will continue to support all 516 member schools and preserve the membership rules, regulations, and bylaws.
Finally, there were many who were impacted and displaced by this order from the court, including student-athletes, officials, members of the media, spectators, and those associated with high school sports. The WIAA staff and our member schools worked through this turbulent situation to make the required changes that were directed by the court.
Please know that WIAA staff will continue to work passionately and tirelessly to uphold the integrity of education-based athletics. In the coming months, the WIAA staff and Board of Control will review and potentially update bylaws to address this recent trend. In this way, we are committed to continuing to defend the rationale and rules on which education-based sports are built.
Stephanie Hauser - Executive Director
Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association