The leadership at the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) met on Friday (8/14) to outline a plan for sports in Wisconsin High Schools for this coming year. Read their press release here:
WIAA approved a plan that maintains current fall sports for schools that are able to play. But it also provided options for schools that are not playing this fall to move their fall sports to this coming spring.
As this relates to volleyball, some schools in the state will be starting up soon and play a modified fall schedule. That will not be happening for the High Schools here in Dane County.
The Big 8 conference is the governing body for sports for most of the D1 high schools that play volleyball in and around Dane County. The WIAA is the state governing body. Back on July 21st, the Big 8 decided to cancel all conference fall sports:
Big 8 said: "since all member schools are not able to participate fully in conference contests during current fall season dates as scheduled, Big 8 Conference competitions will not be held and conference champions will not be named."
The Big 8 did leave the open the option for schools to schedule and play non-conference games this fall if allowed by local health officials and school decision-markers. To date, we are not aware of any schools that are planning this and it's not considered a realistic option.
For boys volleyball here in Dane County we are looking at a possible alternate schedule that would be Monday, Feb. 22 - the week of April 12.
At Friday's meeting the WIAA Board established the parameters and context for an alternate fall season. Should schools opt to do this, they would have 7 weeks of competition in the spring. It would have to be against other teams that did NOT participate this fall. For boys volleyball, the dates they are considering for this alternate schedule would be Monday, Feb. 22 - Week of April 12.
Given the Big 8's decision back July to cancel fall sports, the WIAA's alternate fall season option is about the best case scenario for boys volleyball in Dane County. While some programs in the state will be playing this fall, boys volleyball in Dane County will not be. Therefore, this WIAA ruling gives us some hope that a season could happen.
There are still many hurdles to an alternate fall season happening this spring. There will certainly be facility access issues with spring and fall sports both needing identical facilities to practice and play. There will be athlete overlap that will present issues. There will be concerns about referee availability. And, of course, the status of the global pandemic could still make even the best of plans meaningless. But the WIAA ruling does allow for some hope.
Obviously this is all subject to change and more details will continue to come out over time.
For reference, below is a list of the High Schools in the Big 8 (not all have boys volleyball teams):
Beloit Memorial High School
Janesville Craig High School
Janesville Parker High School
Madison East High School
Madison LaFollette High School
Madison Memorial High School
Madison West High School
Middleton High School
Sun Prairie East High School
Sun Prairie West High School (Coming in 2022)
Verona Area High School
Fort Atkinson High School/Cambridge High School (boys volleyball only)
Madison Edgewood High School (boys volleyball only)