The latest fall sports domino fell Thursday afternoon.
The Badger Conference will follow the Big Eight Conference’s decision from last week and will cancel fall sports competitions and championships.
A news release from the conference that was planned for Friday leaked out to some media outlets Thursday, including 1070 AM The Game, which first reported the story.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly posed challenges for planning events of all types throughout our nation, state and local communities,” the statement read. “The goal of the Badger Conference, first and foremost, continues to be the health and safety of our school district communities.
“Since all member schools are not able to participate fully in conference contests during the current fall season dates as scheduled, Badger Conference competitions will not be held and conference champions will not be named.”
The Badger’s North and South conferences include 16 schools that are located in seven different counties.
The announcement also affects Janesville’s Craig and Parker high school football programs. They were slated to play in the new Badger Large Conference this fall.
All other Craig and Parker athletic programs play in the Big Eight, which made a similar announcement cancelling fall league competitions July 21.
Both conferences’ announcements left open the opportunity for schools to compete this fall if they wish to schedule all nonconference competitions and if local health guidelines allow. Athletic directors from both of Janesville’s schools indicated after the Big Eight announcement last week that their current plan was to pursue nonconference schedules for their fall sports.
There is also the option, as set forth by the WIAA last week, to pursue playing fall sports during the spring season, again depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All schools will be supported in their local decisions,” the Badger Conference’s release states.
The Big Eight and the Badger are the first two conferences in the state to announce their plans to cancel fall sports. Collegiately, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Midwest Conference were among area NCAA Division III leagues that announced this week that they will not be playing fall sports, either.
Elsewhere on the high school front, the Rock Valley Conference has held meetings this week and might announce its fall plans as soon as Friday.