STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control voted to cancel 2020 spring sports regular-season competitions and the Tournament Series while allowing individual, virtual spring sports coaching to continue until the final day of the 2020 season, which is the final day of the State Tournament for the respective sports.
The cancellation of spring competitions and State Tournaments is in support of Gov. Tony Evers’ ongoing efforts to prevent, suppress and control the spread of the COVID-19 disease. On April 16, the state’s Safer-at-Home order was extended until May 26, 2020 with all public and private K-12 schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year (June 30), which also prohibits all school extracurricular and athletic activities.
In conjunction with the decision, the Board voted to extend the unrestricted summertime coaching contact opportunities for spring sports only. This action will permit school teams that include the current year’s seniors to assemble and conduct practices and competitions for up to 30 days, provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed, until the start of a student-athlete’s fall sport season. The extension of the summertime coaching contact is only available to students who are currently enrolled in ninth through 12th grades during the 2020 spring seasons.
All sports’ acclimatization regulations remain unchanged prior to the first competition as does the pitch count during the 30-day window. In addition, a day of rest after six consecutive contact days remains unchanged, and all traditional nonschool participation can be conducted simultaneously during the summertime, provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed. Furthermore, if schools engage in competitions, the required number of WIAA licensed officials also remains unchanged.
All spring sports competitions scheduled during the expansion of unrestricted summertime provisions will require approval from district administrators of all competing schools. In addition, spring sports teams assembling without the current year’s seniors participating shall be limited to five days of unrestricted summertime contact, which is the same as fall and winter sports.
“We want to extend our sincere empathy and regrets to all the student-athletes and coaches that have worked hard in anticipation of participating in sports this spring, particularly the seniors,” Executive Director Dave Anderson said. “The Board of Control and Executive Staff have been resolute in their hopes to preserve some chance to play one more time, and it is our hope that by providing the extended unrestricted days, we can provide some opportunities and closure for spring sport student-athletes.”
“We thank Gov. Evers and all the leading health officials and health care workers for their leadership and guidance during this unprecedented period in our history,” said Anderson. “We share in the responsibility to assist in the efforts to control the spread of this virus. When the time is right, we will play again.”
The cancellation of all extracurricular activities prohibits all school or coach involvement with training, practices, scrimmages and contests until, at the earliest July 1, unless restrictions are removed prior to that time. Therefore, coaches may not bring students together or encourage students to assemble for extracurricular purposes, which includes competitions, practices and all instructional and training until the restrictions on assembling in groups are removed.
All coaches are encouraged to continue to connect with their student-athletes with virtual organizational team meetings and team building exercises by video or messaging as approved by school administration to provide support for athletes. Coaches can provide general information to their athletes virtually, who may voluntarily review the suggestions. However, coaches are prohibited from mandating or instructing athletes out of season during this period.
Spring sports coaches may continue to provide individual virtual instruction for student-athletes with training, conditioning and skill development until the end of the respective spring sports season, which is the final day of the scheduled 2020 State Tournament for the respective sport.
Fall and winter sports coaches’ contact may begin July 1–provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed–and will follow the existing prescribed summertime dates and unrestricted contact regulations with a maximum of five days of contact.
(Portion of press release removed)
The Board received an update on the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic from Dr. Kevin Walter, who is the Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, associate professor at Wisconsin Medical College, and chair of the Sports Medical Advisory Committee. Liaison reports were presented by Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction, John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
The WIAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit organization. The membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 513 senior high schools and 46 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors State Championship Tournament Series for boys and girls. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.
# WIAA #
(Courtesy of Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association)
View the entire press release here.