The WIAA's Conference Realignment Task Force assembled Wednesday, Jan. 9, and reviewed four appeals of realignment requests that were denied last month. Among other actions, a request by Ashland to move into the Heart O'North was advanced.
The Heart O'North added Cameron as a full member this school year. St. Croix Falls started wrestling and playing football in the HON this school year, and will likely be a full member of the conference soon. Ashland and Superior currently wrestle in the HON. Superior's girls also golf in the HON.
Currently, "full members" of the HON include Northwestern, Hayward, Spooner, Cumberland, Ladysmith, Barron, Cameron, Chetek-Weyerhaeuser and Bloomer. However, under the WIAA's new structure for football, Ladysmith and Hayward will leave the conference for that sport only starting with the 2020 season.
Some HON schools, including Barron, play soccer in the Middle Border Conference. Barron's "non-conference" sports include boys hockey and girls tennis.
In addition to Ashland, other schools requesting and receiving an appeal hearing by the WIAA on Jan. 9 included Campbellsport, Delavan-Darien and Westfield.
The appeals of Ashland and Campbellsport received approval of the Task Force, which reassessed its decision following additional information provided in the appeal. Ashland will still not be a member of the HON for football if the school’s current petition is approved.
Campbellsport wishes to move from the East Central Conference to the Wisconsin Flyway Conference and Ashland to the Heart O’ North Conference beginning in 2021-22, if eventually approved by the Board of Control.
All schools impacted by the advancement of the proposals will have the opportunity to provide feedback at the task force meeting on Feb. 12. Following the meeting, the committee will communicate solutions to the WIAA membership and advance its recommendations to the WIAA Board of Control for final consideration on March 6.
The task force denied appeals from Delavan-Darien and Westfield. The two schools are offered the opportunity to appeal the decision directly to the board of control at its meeting on Jan. 29.
According to the WIAA, the intent of the new conference realignment process is to apply a more formalized method for member schools to request relief from conference affiliations.
A committee of member school administrators has been established to evaluate all realignment requests and present them to the board, which retains the authority to make final determinations of all conference alignment decisions.
The process provides enhanced communication and transparency. All levels of school administration at each member school are informed of the committee’s deliberations and decisions.
A conference realignment web page containing all information regarding realignment requests is accessible on the Conference Realignment “Requests and Proposals” page on the WIAA website.
The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 46 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2019-20.