WIAA membership sends multiplier idea to committee

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Eric Schmoldt
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The WIAA membership wants more time to sort out a potential enrollment multiplier.

At its annual meeting Wednesday in Stevens Point, the group voted 352-77 to establish an ad-hoc committee that will study the issue of school enrollment for divisional placement in state tournaments.

“I think at this point it might be the best decision that could’ve been made,” Walworth Big Foot High Athletic Director Tim Collins said. “The proposed amendment was kind of hastily thrown out there. This way, we can all sit back, take a deep breath and make sure it’s fair to everybody—both public and private schools.”

Collins, who attended the meeting, is a District 6 representative of the WIAA’s Sports Advisory Committee.

The proposed amendment to the WIAA constitution became a part of the annual meeting when at least 10 percent of the membership signed a petition to establish a 1.65 multiplier to private schools’ enrollments for purposes of tournament placement.

The ad-hoc committee will gather data and present a final recommendation to the WIAA executive staff and board of control by Dec. 1. Potential recommendations will be made to the executive staff by Sept. 1 for discussion at local meetings.

Members will vote on the final recommendation at next year’s annual meeting, and any change would take affect for the 2015-16 school year.

“The decision to table it is the timely decision because I think it’s a concern for people on multiple fronts,” Janesville Parker High Athletic Director Joe Dye said. “I can’t say that we’re necessarily affected by it, ourselves, the School District of Janesville, but I’m not insensitive to the needs of the member schools that might be affected.

“The creation of an ad-hoc committee that represents the different players, that’s the way to go.”

Janesville’s athletic programs would see little change from a multiplier outside of perhaps seeing a new team or two in postseason play. For example, Madison Edgewood would potentially move up one division.

The proposed multiplier, which took its 1.65 number from a similar multiplier used in Illinois, would more greatly affect schools in lower divisions.

A handful of mostly urban private schools have put together dominant state tournament runs, particularly in basketball, since the state’s private schools joined the WIAA in 2000. Schools such as Whitefish Bay Dominican, which won its third straight Division 4 boys basketball title last month, would move up a division in the postseason if a 1.65 multiplier was in place.

“I think everyone in the room is in agreement that (the situation) needs to be looked at. It been the big elephant in the room the last 14 years,” Collins said. “Now we take a look at it, and we can make rational—and not emotional—decisions.”

 The WIAA membership also voted down, 400-26, a proposed amendment that would have taken conference realignment control from the WIAA and returned it directly to conference members.

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