WIAA proposes two significant changes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

WIAA proposes two significant changes

We could be headed for a shakeup in the high school sports world.

School districts are set to to vote on two changes that would make big waves.

These proposed changes have to do with how teams are stacked in the playoffs and how athletic conferences are set up.

"It'll be interesting. I think there will be a lot of discussion, some good, some maybe a little heated," said Tom Weinkauf, the girls' basketball coach at Newman Catholic High School.

That's the expectation as Wisconsin high schools get ready to vote on two big changes.

One is whether to change how private schools are classified in divisions.

Officials with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association say this idea came from smaller public schools that are feeling overwhelmed by some of the private ones.

"They felt it provided a more level playing field between private schools and their conference," said Dave Anderson, the executive director of the WIAA.

LeeAnn Kitchell, D.C. Everest's athletic director explained the reasoning behind the change in a similar way.

"Private schools are making more state appearances than the smaller public schools and this is an attempt to try and level that playing field," she said.

Some coaches say private and public schools in the same division are often unevenly matched, and they think they know why.

"Private schools have the advantage of drawing from the bigger metro areas even though the school size isn't that much bigger," Weinkauf said.

If this change passes, it could mean more public schools would have a chance to reach the playoffs.

But it's the second proposed change that some say could result in the loss of something valuable.

"No one's happy when you take rivalries away or try to build new ones," Kitchell said.

That's what might happen if the WIAA gives schools the responsibility of forming conferences.

"You would see constant shifting between conferences and schools bouncing from one to another. It would probably be very difficult," said Kitchell.

Athletic directors say they depend on the conferences formed by the WIAA for scheduling help, but they say it could be time for a change.

Both these proposals will come to a vote April 16th.
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