The Wisconsin High School State Championship meet has officially been moved to the Waukesha South Pool. The University of Wisconsin made a decision earlier this month to not host fall-sport high school championship tournaments over concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Waukesha South will host both the Division I and Division 2 State Championship meets. The decision was approved by the WIAA Board of Control at its September meeting.
The WIAA did not, however, settle on whether the regularly-scheduled November state tournaments would happen this year, saying that Waukesha South would host the girls’ swimming & diving state championship “if conditions allow for culminating events or State Tournaments to continue.”
Waukesha South is home to a 25 yard by 30 meter pool that in championship configuration has 8 lanes that are 9 feet wide; it can also be configured to 10 lanes that are 7.5 feet wide. The shallow end of the pool is 5 feet deep while the deep end is 13 feet, 3 inches deep.
The pool also has a large 9 foot by 13 foot multi-color scoreboard and seating for almost 2,000 spectators and athletes.
Other new locations include the girls’ state championship golf tournament at the Blackwolf Run Golf Course in Kohler, Wisconsin, while tennis championships will take place at indoor sites at Sports Core in Kohler (Divsion 2 girls) and at the Lake Geneva Tennis Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (Division 1 girls).
The University of Wisconsin Natatorium was closed, permanently, in June, and no opening date has been set for the new Soderholm Family Aquatic Center, which has been delayed by weather several times.
At its meeting, the WIAA approved a number of other changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic designed to offer more flexibility. Currently, some of the state’s schools are participating in fall sports, while others have opted to wait until the optional season in the spring.
- The Board suspended a pair of tournament procedure regulations for 2020-21 only. The number of teams prescribed for tournament assignments and divisional placements was removed with flexibility given to the Executive Staff to determine the structure of the tournaments. In addition, the team or individual most recently defeated in the Tournament Series will be afforded the opportunity to advance if defeated by a team or individual unable to advance because of COVID-19 related circumstances.
- It grants coaches additional unrestricted out-of-season contact during the school year and prior to the start of their respective season. A one week no-contact period immediately before the start of the season remains unchanged. The additional coaching contact is limited to a school’s own student-athletes, and it may not involve students or teams from outside the school.
- Coaches of teams in the alternate fall sports seasons and the spring sports seasons are now allowed 15 contact days, and winter sports coaches are allowed five contact days.
- No out-of-season coaching contact during the school year was afforded to traditional fall seasons sports coaches that have started their season. Additional details of sports-specific coaches contact was communicated with member school athletic directors.
- the Board voted to permit schools to schedule varsity games after elimination from the Tournament Season, and to allow lower levels to schedule games during the entire Tournament Series. Also, the Board adjusted eligibility rules for this year to ensure student-athletes are able to participate in the alternate fall sports season after graduation.
- The Board also voted to support a study conducted by Dr. Andrew Watson and his research team on the incidence of COVID-19 among high school athletes and to describe the risk migration procedures being used.
- The Board tabled consideration of allowing student-athletes to compete in non-school competition during the spring sports season. This has become a hot topic nationally because delaying certain fall sports until the spring, especially volleyball, has created huge conflicts between long-stratified high school and club seasons.
Other votes not related to the pandemic:
- The Board officially banned the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) Products without a prescription from a licensed health care professional
- The Board supported postponing the Sportsmanship Summit, scheduled for this December, until Dec. 8. 2021.