WISCONSIN — The regularly-scheduled WIAA Board of Control meeting for August was anything but regular. Many issues in the pandemic era were discussed, most notably, what to do with the fall sports season.
In a nearly three-hour meeting, the WIAA voted for the COVID-19 guidelines proposed, so non-contact and low-risk sports can begin practice on Monday. As of now, 234 schools around the state plan to go forward with that plan.
Contact/higher risk sports like football, boys soccer, and volleyball remain on track to begin practices September 7. Hearing the concerns of areas experiencing greater impact from the pandemic, the board approved giving schools the option to play a fall sport in the spring as deemed necessary. What kind of state or regional tournament will be held will be decided later.
To make allowances for those schools, the BOC approved a shortened winter/spring model schedule. Most sports will see their tournaments two or three weeks earlier than normal.
The BOC stated that it realizes there are some complications with all plans, but tried to give schools as many options as possible to give students a chance to participate in sports in some capacity.
Dr. Tim McGuine, PhD of the UW-Madison, also advocated playing fall sports at this time. He presented a PowerPoint that the CDC director states more youth are killed through mental health issues than COVID and explained at-risk kids in low income/poverty areas are hardest hit by mental health and depression issues without high school sports to rely on.