by Jayson Geiser
(WAOW) - The WIAA Board of Control today passed major changes in the structure of both the football and boys & girls basketball seasons.
Starting this season, the WIAA basketball tournaments will feature 5 divisions, instead of the previous 4. Each division will send 4 teams to the state tournament. In lieu of the division 1 quarterfinals, the large schools will play a "super sectional" on the Tuesday the week of the state tournament. Those games will be played at locations around the state and not at the Kohl center as the quarterfinals were in the past.
The divisions will be based on enrollment, with schools of 1,200+ students making up division 1. Schools with 600-1,199 students will be in division 2. Divisions 3 and 4 will split the schools with enrollments between 200-599, with division 3 taking the half that contains the larger schools. Division 5 will be made up of schools with less than 200 students.
The Board of Control also decided to move the start of the football season up 5 days. This takes effect in the 2011 season and will eliminate the playing of 3 games in 10 days at the end of the regular season and start of the playoffs.
Finally, the Board of Control finalized their football-only conference realignment plans. Starting with the 2011 season, the Wisconsin Valley Conference and the Fox Valley Association will combine to form one 16-team conference with 2 divisions. The divisions will be drawn up by the member schools of the new league. Merrill will compete in the WVC this coming season, but will be a football-only member of the Great Northern Conference starting in 2011. Rhinelander begins play in the Great Northern this season. The GNC will also add Ashland for football in 2011. It will be a 5-team league this fall, after releasing Northland Pines and Tomahawk from the football schedule. Tomahawk will join the Marawood in 2011, with Northland Pines planning to play in a Michigan conference. Other schools changing leagues in 2011 are: Augusta from the CloverWood to the Dairyland and McDonell Central from the Marawood to the CloverWood.
Online Reporter - Jayson Geiser