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WIAA eyes five-division proposal for state

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Gazette staff
February 2, 2010

With the WIAA football issue temporarily set aside after last week’s rejection of the district alignment proposal, it’s time to consider the future of state high school boys and girls basketball.


A five-division proposal, keying on the replacement of the eight-school Division 1 state tournament, was circulated Monday to member schools for feedback and deliberation.


The plan, with support from the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association, is a modified version of a proposal originated by Richland Center girls coach Steve Board. It focuses on face-value enrollments in determining where schools would be placed in a division, with a 2:1 enrollment ratio between the largest and smallest schools within a division as the fundamental criteria.


The breakdown would be:


-- Division 1—Schools will an enrollment of 1,200 and above.


-- Division 2—Schools between 600 and 1,199.


-- Division 3—50 percent of the schools between 200 and 599.


-- Division 4—50 percent of the schools between 200 and 599.


-- Division 5—Schools less than 200.


That would place 77 schools in Division 1 for boys basketball, 88 in Division 2, 98 in Division 3, 99 in Division 4 and 122 in Division 5. The same enrollment ranges would apply to the girls.


Contrary to the four-division plan that has been in place since 1991 and features the traditional eight-school Division 1 state format, each of the five divisions would have four state qualifiers. That would enable the state tournament to retain the three-day structure that has been in place—both through open-class and later division competition—since 1945.


The preliminary schedule for the semifinals has Division 5, Thursday afternoon; Division 4, Thursday night; Division 3, Friday morning; Division 2, Friday afternoon; Division 1, Friday night. Division 5, 4 and 3 championship games would be Saturday morning/afternoon, with Division 2 and Division 1 on Saturday night.


Under the existing plan, which has been in place since private schools joined the WIAA in 2000, there are 116 schools each in Divisions 1 and 2, 128 in Division 3 and the remainder in Division 4.


Other proposals reviewed before Monday’s release included a straight-division model, using face-value enrollments that would divide schools equally between each division, and a plan that would have subtracted open-enrollment students from all public schools’ official enrollments.


Under the present proposal, Milwaukee Marquette (2,106) would be the only private school in Division 1. Eight private schools—including Milwaukee Pius (993), Wisconsin Lutheran (753) and Madison Edgewood (661)—would be in Division 2. Division 3 would include Lakeside Lutheran (417), Racine St. Catherine’s (364), La Crosse Aquinas (346) and Whitefish Bay Dominican (345).


As the proposal moves through the traditional WIAA committee structure, including the annual member-school meeting on April 28, it tentatively is scheduled to reach the WIAA Board on Control on June 24. If adopted, the plan could be implemented by the 2011 tournament series.



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