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Competitive Balance

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Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee

In August 2021, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control approved the creation of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee. The committee’s directive is to study competitive balance/equity, evaluate the existing procedure of post-season tournaments, and make recommendations.

The Board of Control received nominations for more than 200 school and district administrators who volunteered to serve on the committee. Emphasis for inclusion on the committee was given to having representation that reflects the composition of the membership, including public and private schools; small, medium, and large schools; and the three levels of school leadership, comprising athletic directors, principals, and presidents or superintendents. Gender and ethnicity representation was also considered. A total of 20 committee members were selected. 

In creating the committee, the Board of Control charged it with holding a series of meetings from the committee’s first seating on Dec. 2, 2021 to March 2022. Central to the work of the ad hoc committee is its presentation at the March 2022 Board meeting, with the potential to recommend an action item that will be voted on by the membership at the 2022 April Annual Meeting.

This is the second time a committee has been assembled to review competitive balance. The first committee met five times from July 2014 to November 2014. Its recommendation was introduced and advanced to the Annual Meeting the following year, in which the WIAA membership voted not to implement the plan.

The purpose of this web page is to serve as a clearinghouse for committee-related information as it engages in a robust and transparent process. Agendas, minutes, and updates will be posted on this page, along with other relevant information. 

Competitive Balance Information

Purpose Statement and Operational Principles

Based on the committee’s work over the course of its Jan. 6, 2022 meeting, members agreed to the following purpose statement, which will frame the committee’s activities: 

The purpose of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee is to (a) thoughtfully and intentionally research the association’s ability to hold tournament series in which all members feel their school has an opportunity to be competitive; and (b) based on this research, the committee will recommend option(s) to the Board of Control to help ensure all members feel their school has an opportunity to be competitive.

During its Jan. 18, 2022 meeting, the committee also created the following operational principles: 

  • We believe the committee will analyze data and other information to determine if there is a problem with the current playoff structure.
  • We believe the committee will keep the student-athlete’s well-being at the center of the discussions.
  • We believe the committee will adhere to a communications plan.
  • We believe the committee will share information and evidence through the process with the stakeholders along with the explanation of the decisions.
  • We believe the committee will provide a possible solution(s) to the competitive balance topic to the Board of Control and membership.

Other Resources

Committee Members

The following are the members of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee, as selected by the Board of Control:

  • Mike Beighley, Superintendent at Whitehall
  • Nathan Burklund, Superintendent at Niagara
  • Brad Ceranski, Principal/Athletic Director at Fall Creek
  • Kurt Cohen, District Administrator at Potosi
  • Eric Coleman, Student Services Supervisor at Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Timothy Flood,  Athletic Director at Green Bay Area School District
  • Tyree Gamble, Athletic Director at Clinton
  • Bryon Graun, Athletic Director at Colby
  • Michelle Guyant-Holloway, Athletic Director at Wauwatosa East
  • John Handel,  Athletic Director at Elkhorn
  • Cory Hinkel, Superintendent at Luck
  • Mark Holzman, Superintendent at Manitowoc
  • Bob Houts, District Administrator at Owen-Withee
  • Kelly Isselmann, Athletic Director at Valders
  • Mike Johnson, Superintendent in Eau Claire
  • Ted Knutson, President at Aquinas
  • Michael Lambrecht, Principal at Columbus Catholic
  • Peggy Larson, District Administrator at Winneconne
  • Patrick Mans, Superintendent at Crivitz
  • Karl Morrin, Superintendent at Florence
  • Douglas Parker, District Administrator at Big Foot
  • Jordan Sinz,  District Administrator at Wisconsin Heights
  • Thomas Wermuth, District Administrator at Adams-Friendship
  • Christopher Zwettler, Athletic Director at Edgewood

Committee Meetings

  • Dec. 2, 2021
  • Jan. 18, 2022
  • Feb. 2, 2022
  • Feb. 17, 2022
  • March 1, 2022
  • March 8, 2022 Board of Control meeting, co-chairs to present updates
  • April 27 WIAA Annual Meeting, co-Chairs and WIAA staff to present updates (possible) 

 

Committee Meeting 1–Update: Dec 2, 2021

The Competitive Balance Ad Hoc  Committee convened for the first time at the WIAA executive staff office Thursday, Dec. 2, 2022. The committee appointed Jordan Sinz, Wisconsin Heights District Administrator and Michelle Guyant-Holloway, Wauwatosa East Athletic Director and Sports Advisory Committee, as committee co-chairs.  

Following introductions, the committee’s objectives for the first meeting, a brief timeline of the competitive  balance history, an analysis and review comments made at the Area Meetings, and an acknowledgment of the  previous competitive balance committee efforts in 2014 were presented.  

The committee acknowledged an understanding of a perceived issue with competitive balance and began conversations to identify the contributing factors.  

To identify the resources needed to create and implement a plan, the committee voted to consider pursuing firms to develop a communication plan and analyze data, which the committee determines to be relevant.  

The committee approved a plan to disseminate information following each meeting to provide continuous communication and transparency throughout the process. In addition, a portal to receive feedback from member schools available through the restricted School Directory on the WIAA website will be available to school administrators.  

Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee Conducts First Meeting

Committee Meeting 2-Update: Dec 16, 2021

On December 16, the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee met virtually. After a review of the December 2 meeting minutes, the history of competitive balance was shared and the work of the 2014 committee was discussed. 

The group then reviewed the 2021 Area Meeting feedback and identified clear communication—including creating a communications plan—and using data to inform the committee's work as critical to the effort. 

The committee then reviewed a proposal for communications services and data services from vendors and finalized the agenda for the next meeting to be held on January 6 at the WIAA Office.
 

Committee Meeting 3–Update: Jan 6, 2022

On Jan. 6, the committee had its second meeting, which focused on finding agreement on a purpose statement and developing a communications plan. Based on the committee’s work throughout the meeting, members agreed to the following purpose statement, which will frame the committee’s activities: 

The purpose of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee is to (a) thoughtfully and intentionally research the association’s capacity to hold tournament series, in which all members feel their schools have opportunities to be competitive, and (b) based on this research, the committee will recommend option(s) to the Board of Control to help ensure all members feel their schools have opportunities to be competitive.

The committee also developed a communications plan, which will be finalized in its next meeting on Jan. 18. Central to this plan is the creation of a committee web page. The committee’s next meeting will take place on Jan. 18, 2022.

Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee Meetings Update Release

Committee Meeting 4–Update: Jan 18, 2022

At the Jan. 18 virtual meeting, the committee validated its purpose statement and communications plan and approved the following operational principles:  

  • We believe the committee will analyze data and other information to determine if there is a problem with the current playoff structure.
  • We believe the committee will keep the student-athlete’s well-being at the center of the discussions.
  • We believe the committee will adhere to a communications plan.
  • We believe the committee will share information and evidence through the process with the stakeholders along with the explanation of the decisions.
  • We believe the committee will provide a possible solution(s) to the competitive balance topic to the Board of Control and membership.

Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee Meetings Update Release

Committee Meeting 5–Update: Feb 2, 2022

The Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee held its fourth meeting on Feb. 2, 2022. 

After receiving an update on recent committee-related communication work and efforts to be transparent and engage all members, the committee reviewed new feedback from the feedback form.The committee spent most of its meeting time discussing what data the committee should use to analyze historical competitive balance. The committee used small and large groups to have very engaging and robust conversations.

The committee members also began discussing their thoughts about competitive balance models used in other states. This topic will continue during the next committee meeting.

Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee Conducts Fourth Meeting

Committee Meeting 6-Update: February 17, 2022

On February 17, the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee met virtually. In addition to reviewing its purpose statement, operating principles and its work to date, committee members reviewed and provided high-level feedback on various states' competitiveness balance models.

Committee members then received an update on the committee's communications efforts. They also discussed future meeting dates, including the committee's next meeting, to be held in-person at the WIAA offices on March 1. 

Committee Meeting 7-Update: March 1, 2022

The Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee held its sixth meeting on March 1, 2022.

After reviewing its purpose and operating principles, the committee reviewed and received presentations about various competitive balance models, including some used in other states. Then, after the committee broke into small groups where the models were discussed, each group reported out via a large group format and discussed key takeaways.

The committee also reviewed how data would be collected and used by the committee before discussing its communications efforts per its commitment to providing transparency to the Board of Control and members.

The committee will meet again, virtually, on March 23.

Meeting Release

Committee Meeting 8-Update: March 23, 2022

The Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee held its seventh meeting on March 23, 2022.

After reviewing the purpose of the group as well as its operating principles, the committee broke into small groups to further analyze competitive models, including those being used in other states.  Each group provided their key takeaways from those plans as well as things they need to learn more about each one. Finally, the groups listed any further questions that they have about each plan.  The next steps will include analysis of the data that is being collected by the Baird Group.

The committee will meet again, in person, on April 7.

Committee Meeting 9-Update: April 19, 2022

The Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee met virtually on April 19. 

After reviewing its purpose and operating principles, Todd Hajewski from Baird provided an update on his team's data collection and analysis progress. Co-Chairs Michelle Guyant-Holloway and Jordan Sinz, along with Joe Donovan from the Donovan Group, then shared a draft of the slide deck to be presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting. Next, the committee broke into small groups to review the presentation concerning the varied perspectives of the membership. 

The next meeting is scheduled for May 11 at the WIAA Office.

Committee Meeting 10-Update: May 11, 2022

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee held its 10th meeting at the organization’s headquarters Wednesday.

After review its purpose statement and operating principles, members of the committee discussed the feedback received at the Annual Meeting in April and new information collected through the online feedback portal.

Todd Hajewski from Baird, with whom the organization contracted to assemble and analyze data on competitive balance, provided a preliminary overview of the effort. After an opportunity to ask questions and break into small groups to discuss the preliminary data and report on their small group conversations, the committee asked Hajewski to conduct some additional analysis based on the committee discussion.

Prior to adjournment, the members of the committee discussed the committee's composition in light of some retirements before members shared some closing comments.

The committee is scheduled to meet again virtually on Wednesday, May 25.

For more information on the proceedings of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee, access the Competitive Balance homepage at http://www.wiaawi.org/Schools/Competitive-Balance. Members are encouraged to provide feedback after each of the committee’s meetings on the WIAA website portal at https://schools.wiaawi.org/Forms/Feedback/FeedbackSelection/. A short video recapping the discussions of the May 11 committee meeting is available at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgQoFr45UBU.

Committee Meeting 11-Update: June 27, 2022

On June 27, 2022, Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee members met for their 11th meeting. Some members were at the WIAA headquarters in person, while others logged in from afar. 

In keeping with previous meetings, the meeting began with a review of the committee's purpose statement, operating principles, and new information collected through the online feedback portal. Members then received an update from Todd Hajewski from Baird, with whom the organization contracted to assemble and analyze data on competitive balance. 

After discussing the data in small groups, committee members discussed competitive balance plans used in Colorado and Ohio before reporting on their small group discussions to the large group. 

Then, after discussing committee goals and corresponding timelines, as well as the committee's communications objectives, the committee adjourned. The committee will meet in small groups through the month of July and will convene as a full committee on August 3 at the WIAA headquarters in Stevens Point.  Committee members also plan to be in attendance at the seven WIAA Area Meetings in September to discuss conceptual plans and solicit conversation and feedback on this topic. 

Co-Chairs, Michelle Guyant-Holloway and Jordan Sinz summarize the meeting in this 2-minute WIAA Extra Points video

As always, for more information on the proceedings of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee, access the Competitive Balance homepage at http://www.wiaawi.org/Schools/Competitive-Balance.

In addition, members are encouraged to provide feedback after each of the committee's meetings on the WIAA website portal at https://schools.wiaawi.org/Forms/Feedback/FeedbackSelection/

Committee Meeting 12-Update: Aug. 3, 2022

After reviewing the committee's purpose statement and operating principles, the committee reviewed new information collected through the feedback portal. The committee then met in small groups to consider various plans, including those from other states.

The committee then met in a large group format to answer key questions. The first question was whether the group felt, after considering data that had been collected, analyzed and reported by Baird to the committee, whether competitive balance problems exist that should be addressed. The committee unanimously agreed that a competitive balance issue does exist and that it should be addressed.

Next, the committee worked to identify specific competitive balance problems. Among the items, committee members agreed that athletes, coaches, parents and administrators perceive some schools have unfair advantages or disadvantages. Moreover, in responding to data presented by Baird based on data collected by the firm, correlations exist between particular variables and tournament success. Finally, while enrollment is currently the only factor used for divisional placement, committee members agreed that times have changed such that other factors should be considered to create more competitive balance.

The committee then discussed how the various plans under consideration could address the problems that have been identified. Without addressing the plan's details, the group agreed that some of the basic parts of the Colorado Plan provide the best fit for Wisconsin.


Before adjourning, the committee discussed some next steps, including creating a subcommittee to meet in the coming weeks to address some of the details of a plan that will be presented to members at the upcoming WIAA Area Meetings. The committee will meet again, virtually, on Wednesday, Aug. 31.

For a video summary of the meeting, please use this link to listen to Co-Chairs, Michelle Guyant-Holloway and Jordan Sinz.

As always, for more information on the proceedings of the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee, access the Competitive Balance homepage at:  http://www.wiaawi.org/Schools/Competitive-Balance.

In addition, members are encouraged to provide feedback after each of the committee's meetings on the WIAA website portal at:  https://schools.wiaawi.org/Forms/Feedback/FeedbackSelection/