190426_CITYSOFT03

Parker's Julianna Getka (24), left, and Lydia Quade (14), center, reach for the ball as Craig's Katelyn Palmer (16), right, runs to third base Thursday, April 25, 2019, at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.

JANESVILLE

The WIAA last week left open a small window for high school spring sports teams around the state to potentially gain some closure in July.

An increasing number of area schools and athletic conferences, however, have indicated they will not participate even if such a circumstance arises.

The WIAA on April 21 canceled the spring sports season and tournaments due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But the WIAA Board of Control also voted that day to extend unrestricted summertime coaching contact for spring sports. Instead of the normal five-day contact period, spring sports could have 30 days to meet, practice or hold competitions beginning July 1 if the state’s COVID-19 regulations allowed.

The School District of Janesville in a news release Wednesday said it will not participate.

“The School District of Janesville will not be offering the unrestricted spring contact summer option,” the release from assistant superintendent Scott Garner stated. “Regular WIAA allowed non-school contact is not affected by this decision, and we await further guidance from WIAA with respect to plans to proceed with and/or potentially modify fall sports programs.”

The announcement was not shocking, considering the Madison School District announced it would not participate when it issued a news release along with a Big Eight Conference release following the WIAA’s ruling.

Programs in the Rock Valley Conference—which includes Edgerton, Evansville, Whitewater, Brodhead/Juda, Turner, Big Foot, Clinton, Jefferson, East Troy and McFarland—will also not be participating. That decision came out of meetings involving the RVC superintendents and athletic directors Friday.

“There are a couple of reasons we aren’t taking advantage of it,” RVC commissioner Ray Vance said. “A lot of it is just the unknown factor of it. We really have no idea if the stay-at-home mandate is going to continue past the current time. And even if it doesn’t, a lot of families are going to be using July for vacation time. And the Fourth of July is in there as well, which complicates things.”

Elkhorn Area High athletic director Dan Kiel said in an email Wednesday that the Southern Lakes Conference has not taken an official stance on issue but that it is on an agenda for a meeting Thursday.

“If Elkhorn is allowed to hold competitions during the 30 days, we will,” Kiel said.

Vance said budgetary concerns were a factor in the Rock Valley decision.

“The budgets are done as of June 30,” Vance said. “So what that means is the money that’s needed to run the sports during those 30 days is going to come from sports for next year. I just think there were a lot of problems with that plan.

“We would all love to see the seniors be able to play once more, but all of the athletic directors that I spoke to were in the same boat.”

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