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Membership rejects WIAA’s competitional equity proposal

STEVENS POINT – The membership of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association defeated amendments intended to address competitive equity concerns, and passed resolutions for coaches’ certification requirements and adding basketball, hockey and volleyball to the list of sports with unlimited non-school contact in the summer at the 2015 Annual Meeting today in Stevens Point.

The membership voted to strike the language of the resolution advanced by the competitive equity ad-hoc committee. That resolution would have implemented a success factor and promote programs to a higher division once a threshold of success was attained over a three-year period. The resolution was replaced by an amendment to impose a 1.65 multiplier to all nonpublic school enrollments for divisional placement in the Tournament Series, excluding single-gender schools that already have their enrollments doubled. That proposed amendment failed by a 141-293 margin.

The second amendment attempting to address competitive equity, which was advanced by membership petition, was rejected by a 167-265 tally of the votes. The proposal would have applied a reducer to member schools’ enrollment figures for future divisional placement. The reduction of enrollment would have been calculated using a formula for the number of free and reduced lunch students in a school.

Four of the 10 amendments advanced to the meeting were passed by the membership. One impacts the Bylaws, two refer to the Rules of Eligibility and one addresses language in the Constitution. The new rules will become effective–unless otherwise noted in the amendment–upon publication of the next issue of the Bulletin, which is scheduled for May 22, 2015.

In a measure to enhance student-athlete wellness, a new Bylaw was established by a vote of 260-167 to require all paid coaches to be certified and maintain certification in First Aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and AED operation beginning in 2016-17. The resolution was passed after being amended to remove volunteer coaches from the original proposal.

One of the amendments having a significant impact on the Rules of Eligibility adds basketball, hockey and volleyball to the list of sports with unlimited non-school contact in the summer. The membership voted in favor of the proposal by 230-196 vote. With unlimited non-school contact, no school resources can be used to fund the activity, pay the coach or supervisors, or pay for transportation to-and-from events. Non-school opportunities must be voluntary and not limited to students on the basis of school affiliation, athletic experience or team status.

The second amendment to alter the Rules of Eligibility allows students to participate in skill contests during the season in the same sport, as long as there is school approval and no school coach involvement. The amendment passed by a 332-89 margin.

The one Constitutional amendment to receive membership support designates the first Friday in January as a deadline for amendments to be advanced to the membership via petition. It passed by a resounding 399-32 vote. The new deadline allows additional time for discussion and committee review prior to the Annual Meeting.

One amendment advanced to the Annual Meeting, which would require member schools to sponsor and continue to sustain at least one sport to maintain membership in the Association, was postponed by a 399-32 count. More discussion and consideration will ensue to measure the impact on member schools currently maintaining only cooperative program arrangements.

In addition to the amendments relating to competitive equity, three other amendments failed to receive the necessary majority of support needed to change the current status of the rules.

In the 2015-16 Board of Control elections, treasurer Pam Foegen, the Pupil Service Director at Regis, will serve her second consecutive term as the Gender At-Large representative. Scott Winch, superintendent at Stratford and a current member of the Advisory Council, was elected as the representative from District 2. Luke Francois, superintendent at Mineral Point, was elected to serve as the District 5 representative. Elected members of the Board of Control serve a three-year term.

Incumbents re-elected to the Advisory Council were Scott Bleck, superintendent at Weyauwega-Fremont, representing medium schools; Patrick Olson, district administrator at Prairie Farm, and Dennis Birr, superintendent at New Lisbon, representing small schools. Individuals elected to a new term are Roger Rindo, superintendent at Oconomowoc, and Nicolas Been, assistant principal at River Falls, representing large schools; Colleen Timm, district administrator at Mishicot, as the Gender At-Large representative; and Melinda Skrade, president at Pius XI, as the Non-Public School representative. Elected individuals serve a three-year term on the Advisory Council.

An unofficial count of 435 schools were in attendance at the 2015 Annual Meeting. The WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 505 senior high schools and 46 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 24 championship tournament series. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.