STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association conducted its 125th Annual Meeting at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Stevens Point on Wednesday.
Among the topics on the Association’s business meeting agenda were the voting results of five proposed amendments to the Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility. Five of the amendments were carried over from last year with the cancellation of the 2020 Annual Meeting to assist in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, three amendments were brought to the membership for a vote this year. All eight of the amendments were passed into rule by the membership utilizing online voting prior to the meeting.
Six of the eight amendments impact the Constitution section of the Senior High Handbook, one is included in the Bylaws and one other is associated with the Rules of Eligibility.
Two of the amendments to the Constitution impact the membership’s rule-making process. The first mandates all amendments will require approval of the Advisory Council for them to advance to Board of Control, and any changes to amendments made by the Board must return to Advisory Council for review. The membership voted 237-145 to approve the amendment. The second requires any change approved by the Board of Control in the maximum game/meet limits or in WIAA adaptations to NFHS rules of a sport – that results in additional cost incurred by schools – must be advanced and voted on by the membership at the Annual Meeting before taking effect. The amendment was supported 274-108.
Two of the amendments impact the Membership Article in the Constitution. The first clarifies the definition of a residence school as some members build dormitories. The membership approved the definition with a 350-32 vote. The second amendment to the Membership Article adds a protocol to determine enrollment for tournament divisional classification when a single-gender school transitions to a co-ed school. The membership approved passage of the amendment by a 365-17 vote.
The two remaining amendments align co-op and declaration for 11-player or 8-player football deadlines with football-only conference realignment deadlines. Requests to add a cooperative team into the WIAA football playoffs the next even year must be received in the WIAA office by Oct. 15 of the previous even year. The amendment was confirmed 365-17. The second football deadline amendment passed requires schools to declare for 11-player or 8-player football by Oct. 15 to be eligible for the football playoffs in the next even-year season. It also adds the interpretation that applications to declare are on a two-year cycle in even years. The membership voted 365-17 in favor of the amendment.
The amendment added to the Rules of Eligibility removes an unintended advantage for transfer students attending and boarding at a residence school. Residence school transfers will have unrestricted eligibility at the beginning of the 11th grade following a 350-32 vote in support of the amendment.
The approved change to the Bylaws creates a penalty for spectators ejected from interscholastic athletic competitions for flagrant harassment or unsporting conduct. Ejections will require suspension from no less than the next competitive event or meet in the same sport and level of competition that the ejection occurred. The rule was adopted by a 312-70 vote.
The membership also voted on a number of editorial changes in the Constitution. The edits do not change any existing rules or interpretations of the rules. Instead, the editorial changes only serve as clarifications to existing rules or interpretations. The 2020 editorial changes were ratified by a 376-6 vote of the membership with the 2021 editorial changes passing by a 377-5 margin.
The Director’s Report included expressions of gratitude for the work of the membership and influential individuals from Dave Anderson, who will be retiring on July 31. Stephanie Hauser was introduced as the new executive director, effective July 1. In her address, she expressed her appreciation and vision for her new role after serving six years as assistant director.
Hauser also introduced a special presentation recognizing Abby Tuma of Shawano Community, who was the Wisconsin nominee for the 2020-21 NFHS Spirit of Sport Award, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Also recognized were the representatives of the 46 schools that received the WIAA Award of Excellence in 2019-20.
In the 2020-21 Board of Control elections, Willy Chambers, superintendent at Black Hawk and current Board secretary, was re-elected for a second three-year term on the Board as the District 5 representative. Eric Burling, principal at Burlington, will serve for one year to complete the term of Bernie Nicolay, who announced his retirement from the superintendent position at Cambridge in District 6. Michael Endreas, the superintendent at Spencer, was elected to the Board for a three-year term representing District 2. Jennifer Vogler, the Director of Behavioral Intervention and Coaching at Sturgeon Bay, was elected to her second three-year term as the gender at-large position on the Board. A special election will take place to fill a one-year term to complete the position of Phil Ertl, who announced his retirement from the superintendent role at Wauwatosa in District 7.
In the 2020-21 Advisory Council elections, Ryan Christianson, superintendent at Marshfield, and James Darin, the principal at Mukwonago, were elected to serve a three-year term as large school representatives. Jim Brewer, superintendent at Clinton, was re-elected for a second three-year team representing medium-sized schools. Mark Gruen, superintendent at Royall, and Cory Hinkel, superintendent at Luck were both elected to represent small schools. Gruen returns to the Advisory Council to serve a three-year term, and Hinkel will serve in his second consecutive three-year stint. Ted Knutson, president at Aquinas, returns to the Advisory Council for a three-year term. He also served on the Council from 2009-12 and again in 2020-21. The Board of Control will appoint a representative to fill a three-year term for the gender at-large position available on the Advisory Council.
A total of 322 representatives from 259 schools attended the 2021 Annual Meeting with another 169 representative registering to watch the meeting virtually. The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 515 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. For more information, visit the WIAA website at www.wiaawi.org or contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.
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