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WIAA Board OK's Football Practice Changes

STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control convened for its annual summer meeting and acted on coaches advisory committee recommendations for winter sports and a football player-on-player contact policy that impact the 2014-15 season regulations Thursday.  

The Board approved a recommendation supported by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association, the Sports Medical Advisory Committee and the Executive Staff that places limitations on player-to-player contact that simulates live game action in practices. Player-on-player contact drills are divided into five categories, and limitations are placed on the competition/full contact designations. For the first week of practice, no full contact is permitted. In the second week of practice, full contact is limited to 75 minutes per week, excluding a scrimmage; and for the third week and beyond, 60 minutes of full contact is permitted per week, excluding games.  

To view the football player-on-player contact policy – CLICK HERE  

Six of the recommendations made in basketball received Board approval. A six-quarter waiver will be provided to programs that have 12 or fewer players across two levels beginning in 2014-15. Also passed were provisions to increase the number of games for freshman-only teams from 20 to 22 and to allow head coaches of programs in grades 9-12 to use the coaching box.

The Board also supported the recommendation to allow any school 80 miles or more from its seed meeting site to use electronic means to participate in the meeting. Beginning with the 2015 tournaments, Division 5 teams will now have the same provision as Division 4 in deallng with conflicts that arise when a school’s girls team is scheduled to play a sectional semifinal on Thursday evening, the same night as the school’s boys team is scheduled to play in the State semifinal. In these instances, the girls sectional semifinal will be moved to Wednesday evening.

In addition, a three-point field goal shooting competition, scheduled for the Saturday prior to the boys and girls State Tournament finals in 2015, received the go-ahead from the Board.   

Of the number of coaches recommendations presented in wrestling, three were passed into regulations. Assistant referees will be used for the semifinals and finals of the State Team and Individual Tournaments beginning in 2015, and the third and fifth place matches will be run concurrently by weight class and division in the State Individual Tournament. Other Board action in wrestling retains the 3 p.m. start time for the finals session of the State Team Tournament implemented last March to accommodate the Big Ten Wrestling Championships schedule.  

The Board  approved the use of video replay to review and verify questionable goals and to correct the game time at the State Boys and Girls Hockey Tournaments beginning in 2015. In addition, the starting times for the Thursday and Friday sessions of the State Tournament will return to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning next season.   

The lone recommendation in gymastics was approved, which removes the “mathematical error”  language from the scoring error inquiry sheet.  

Both of the recommendations forwarded from the Sports Medical Advisory Committee were ratified, including the use of spider pad protection on the fourth and fifth day in the football acclimatization plan, as well as the implementation of the prescribed fall acclimatization practice guidelines in soccer beginning in 2014.   The first of two Sportsmanship Committee proposals to receive Board approval requires host schools to report incidents of rushing the court or field during the regular season and the Tournament Series to the WIAA office. The second adds another option to the sportsmanship public address announcement required before all Tournament Series contests.   

The Board also approved the 2014-16 spring cooperative team requests and the first consideration of a slight modification to the conference crossover requirements between the Capitol and South Central Conferences. Two crossover match-ups are required between the leagues in football, boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball in 2015-16. The change reduces the required number of boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball crossover contests from four to two. Membership rules require a 40-day window for schools involved in realignment plans to appeal the first consideration of the Board before it takes final action. Thus, affected schools have until Aug. 5, 2015, to file an appeal of the Board’s initial vote. The Board’s final action on the realignment plans will be at its Aug. 15 meeting.  

Executive Staff reports presented to the Board included information on a policy to discontinue sponsorship of a sport, concern for declining participation of females in some sports, seasonal placements, possible 2015 Constitutional amendments and an update on the progress of scheduling the first meeting of the competition ad-hoc committee assigned to reviewing competitive equity.

In addition, the Board liaisons from the Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association presented reports.