WIAA emails ADs after superintendents’ proposal advocates pushing fall sports to spring

Proposal also calls for pushing 2021 spring sports to summer

The WIAA has sent an email to activities directors in response to a letter from Wisconsin superintendents from southwestern Wisconsin, which advocated for moving the upcoming fall sports season to the spring and spring sports to summer.

News 8 Now Sports obtained a copy of the email, in which the WIAA reiterated that it continues to work with the Department of Public Instruction, Department of Health Services and other resources to gather as much information as possible. The WIAA maintains there are no changes right now to the fall sports schedule, but they are conducting surveys with other superintendents around the state and noting that some conferences have already voiced support for the southwest’s proposal.

Two local activities directors responded Thursday to News 8 Now Sports’ request for thoughts on the superintendents’ proposal. One AD was in favor of the proposal to push fall sports back, saying a modified sports season is better than none at all. He wrote, “Personally, as a classroom teacher/AD, I struggle with insisting on social distancing, masks, sanitizing, etc. during the school day, but at 3:30, we tell the football players to head out to the field and the volleyball players to go to the gym where we simply can’t have the same protocols. Also, as much as I love athletics and watching all student-athletes perform at their best, I think the focus has to be on making sure we can safely educate kids first.

“From my standpoint, I think everyone involved in athletics needs to ask themselves just one question: ‘Do you want to have sports this year?’ The simple fact is that it may not happen at all if we push too hard to maintain the status quo. Under this plan, our kids could potentially have all of their sports seasons. Will there be challenges and modifications? Absolutely. Will some parts of this be inconvenient for many? Absolutely. But, again, do we want to have sports?”

Another AD said the proposal is worth looking into, but that it presents some obstacles that would need to be addressed. One of the main concerns the AD raised was of scheduling, writing, “The length the fall seasons would need to be shortened so that spring sports can start their seasons in June with as little competition for athletes from fall sports as possible.”

The AD continued that if football, volleyball, and cross country started in the last week of March 2021, the seasons would run until late June or even early July if season lengths were left normal. With that in mind, he posed the questions asking how that timetable would affect kids’ participation in the spring sports season that would begin in summer, and if seasons aren’t shortened, how would the WIAA address fall 2021 start dates, with the next football season set to begin August 1, 2021?

The AD added that weather would almost certainly be an obstacle in spring. Specifically regarding football, grass fields in the March and April months would “get sloppy and only get worse as the year goes on.”

At the end of the WIAA’s email to ADs, the organization said that in light of the southwest superintendent’s proposal, “We will be looking to schedule a July Board meeting, in relative short order, to take up the request contained in the SW proposal. When that meeting is determined it will be noticed to all members. ”