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STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association conference realignment task force assembled and developed a plan that alters the realignment request process at the association’s executive office on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

The plan will be advanced and recommended to the Board of Control at its meeting on Jan. 30, 2019. The committee prioritized the challenges and concerns with the existing process and philosophy to develop a plan the task force believes will improve the manner in which realignment requests are processed and evaluated. 

Among the recommendations in the plan is a formalized request protocol and timeline. Under the proposed guidelines, schools will be required to submit realignment requests by Dec. 1. The WIAA staff will review the submitted applications and publish them on the association’s website with a corresponding email to all member schools. 

The realignment task force, a committee appointed by the Board of Control, will review the requests and determine which requests warrant preliminary work on solutions. Schools will then be notified if their requests for realignment are advanced or denied, and those determinations will be posted on the WIAA website and emailed to all schools. 

Under the plan, the task force will convene to conduct appeal hearings for the school involved in requests that were denied further consideration in January. In addition, all schools affected by requests that were approved for further consideration will be given the opportunity to express their position on the proposals. The task force will then review, modify if necessary, and finalize their realignment recommendations prior to advancing them to the Board. Those approved or revised plans will again be posted on the WIAA website and communicated with the member schools via email.

At its January meeting, the Board will hear any appeals from member schools whose request for realignment was originally denied by the task force. If necessary, the task force will meet in February to review any plans they previously denied if charged by the Board to revisit the proposal. Any updates from that meeting will again be communicated with the member schools.

The Board will then vote on the realignment proposal recommendations of the task force at its March meeting with an implementation date determined. At that time, the Board can approve the recommendation or send it back to the task force for additional deliberation, which will require another task force meeting in April. In that scenario, the Board will again review and either approve or reject the realignment implementation of a plan at their April meeting.

The current members of the realignment task force will serve on the committee for the first four years of the new process. Jeremy Schlitz, athletic director at Madison Memorial High, and Mike Beighley, superintendent of the Whitehall School District, were elected by the task force to serve as co-chairs.

Beighley commented on the plan proposed for a new conference realignment process, and he praised the work and commitment of the task force in creating a process that can benefit an engaged membership. 

“The work has been substantial in terms of the honesty of the conversations, and it will become very clear that this process is wide open in terms of being able to be understood, reviewed and evaluated by member schools,” he said. “I also think it puts some responsibility back with member schools to be part of the process as opposed to a simple hand up and saying ‘we need relief.’ It makes everyone part of the process as a membership-driven association that we certainly try to be. This fits very well.”

The purpose of the committee, which met for the first time on Aug. 8 and then again on Oct. 4, was to evaluate the current protocol for conference realignment and determine if the current process can be improved to better serve the needs of the membership, which consists of 511 high schools throughout the state. 

The impetus for creating the task force and a new process is derived from the WIAA executive office receiving persistent requests for relief through conference realignment. At the Annual Meeting last April, Executive Director Dave Anderson announced a one-year moratorium on conference realignment requests where there is not 100 percent agreement from the schools and conferences impacted by the change. 

The membership’s guidelines and philosophy for conference realignment were originally developed in the 1970s. As the membership has evolved since then, so has the focus on conference affiliation. The purpose of reviewing the realignment process is to identify new tools and a transparent process that can serve the Board and membership. The WIAA’s constitution identifies the Board of Control as the ultimate authority in conference alignment matters. 

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 State championships for boys and girls in 2018-19. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.

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Wisconsin Interscholastic
Athletic Association
5516 Vern Holmes Drive
Stevens Point, WI 54482-8833
Phone (715) 344-8580
Fax (715) 344-4241
Mon-Fri: 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM