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WIAA Board tweaks winter sports rules

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control reviewed and acted on committee recommendations impacting winter sports at its June meeting last week.

The board voted to increase the maximum number of basketball games permitted in a season from 22 to 24 at the varsity level only beginning in 2020-21. The other change clarifies that individual participation limits will be determined strictly by number of halves. The maximum number of halves a student-athlete may participate in during a season remains unchanged at 66.

In hockey, the board approved a new overtime procedure for all WIAA Tournament Series games. Teams will remain in the bench area for a three-minute break to be followed by an eight-minute, sudden-victory overtime period. If a winner has not been determined following the first overtime, a 15-minute intermission with ice resurfacing will precede a 17-minute, sudden-victory overtime. If a tie remains, the procedure will repeat.

The board also approved the hockey recommendation to increase the number of team medals at sectionals and at state to 22, which allows for each player on the bench to receive a medal.

Two wrestling-related recommendations were approved by the board. The season regulation for a two-pound growth allowance with consecutive days of competition will now be in compliance with the NFHS rule. The second new regulation authorizes to seed teams advancing to the State Team Wrestling Tournament following sectionals. The traditionally scheduled seed meeting will now serve as an appeal opportunity to the data-driven seeds.

The one gymnastics recommendation approved by the board alters the language of the regulation that addresses the eligibility of co-op programs for the team tournament series. A cooperative team is eligible for the WIAA team tournament series if it consists of a maximum of two schools, or the combined enrollment of the cooperative team does not exceed the enrollment of the largest stand-alone program of the previous year.

In other sport-related board action, the boys' golf season in 2020 will be moved one week later to accommodate for the American Family Insurance Championship that will be held the traditional week of the State Boys Golf Tournament at University Ridge Golf Course. The new dates for the state meet in 2020 will be June 15-16.

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2018-19.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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