WIAA task force conducts football-only realignment review
FOR CITY TIMES
STEVENS POINT — The Conference Realignment Task Force voted Dec. 6 on 35 football-only requests in the first meeting of the membership’s realignment review process for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Twenty-seven plans either requested placement in a conference or requested relief from their current conference affiliation in 11-player football. Although none of the plans advanced were as specified in the respective proposals, information provided in 14 of the plans were modified and advanced for further review by the task force.
The 14 plans that were the catalysts for the modified plans were submitted by Nekoosa and Pittsville, along with Ashland, Berlin, Green Bay West, Hortonville, Oshkosh West, Palmyra-Eagle, Rice Lake, Sheboygan Falls, Southwestern, Waupun, Webster and West Allis Central.
In addition, eight of the plans submitted for 8-player football conference realignment were referenced to modify conference alignment throughout the entire state in an all-encompassing plan advanced by the task force for further consideration.
The extensive football conference realignment plans are outlined with links to the detailed proposed conference affiliations on the “Requests and Proposals” option on the WIAA’s Conference Realignment web page.
Under the proposal, the Valley Football Association would be dissolved, and Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Marshfield, D.C. Everest and Wausau West would join a newly-created Big Rivers/VFA-East alignment, along with Eau Claire Memorial and Eau Claire North. That plan also calls for a mandatory crossover for a seventh conference game with a team from the new Big Rivers/VFA-West, which includes Chippewa Falls, Hudson, Menomonie, New Richmond, Rice Lake, River Falls and Superior.
Nekoosa would be moving to the Trailways Conference, joining Cambria-Friesland, Johnson Creek, Lourdes Academy (Oshkosh), Milwaukee Excellence, Palmyra-Eagle, Randolph, and Westfield.
Newly-affected schools with the modified solutions are invited to appear and provide feedback during a virtual meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023.
All schools impacted by the modified realignment plan may provide feedback prior to and during the Conference Realignment Task Force meeting on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. In addition, schools that submitted requests which were not advanced at the Dec. 6 meeting may appeal the decision at the Jan. 12 meeting before the task force finalizes the modified solutions.
Plans that are advanced from the January meeting will be reviewed by the Board of Control to make a final determination on each of the proposals at its March 7, 2023 meeting.
Appeals, if successful, will be communicated with the membership and re-evaluated by the task force. If the revised solutions are approved on appeal, they will be submitted to the Board of Control for consideration in March with any modifications and solutions communicated to the membership. If the appeal is not approved by the Conference Realignment Task Force, schools may make a final appeal to the Board of Control at its meeting on Feb. 1, 2023. Based on the appeals, the board may remand realignment plans back to the task force to reconsider at a Feb. 9 meeting, if necessary.
A link to the complete WIAA conference realignment process flowchart is available on the Conference Realignment page on the WIAA website.
In review and consideration of each of the realignment requests, the Conference Realignment Task Force identified various rationale for advancing or not advancing requests. Those factors included providing all members with a conference affiliation, maintaining a reasonable number of teams within geographic and enrollment considerations, participation numbers and levels of programming, and flexibility with potential shifts caused by the forming of co-ops and programs transitioning from 11-player to 8-player status.
The purpose of the conference realignment process is to apply a formalized method for member schools to request relief from conference affiliations. A committee of member school administrators evaluates all realignment requests and presents them to the Board of Control, which retains the authority to make final determinations of all conference alignment decisions.
The revised conference realignment process provides structure, enhanced communication and transparency to the realignment process. All levels of school administration at each member school are informed of the committee’s deliberations and decisions.
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 518 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.