The basketball season will soon be a bit busier.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association recently announced it has increased the maximum number of varsity games permitted in a season from 22 to 24, beginning with the 2020-’21 campaign.
The WIAA’s Board of Control reviewed and acted on committee recommendations impacting winter sports at its June meeting, and the big-news item was the addition of more games.
While the athletes or fans may be all for it, a number of coaches are not, including South boys coach Jesse Shaw.
“More games doesn’t necessarily mean better quality games,” he said. “In fact, with less practice time, the quality of games might not be as good. Just because a few top teams want to go outside of the state for competition, doesn’t mean the rest of us – vast majority – should have to play more games.”
Christian boys coach Brett Flipse says he is indifferent, in terms of the sport.
“But I also think the season has gotten long,” he said. “It’s hard to schedule games, especially as a small school. We don’t have gym space and practice time to let’s say add four more games a year with the girls and the guys. … I’m a coach that really likes practice time, and games are basically a rendition of how you practice. Playing more gives us less practice time.
“But overall, I don’t think it’s a horrible thing.”
Flipse added there could be more weekend games, which he thinks schools have gotten away from.
Lutheran athletic director Al Holzheimer was a bit surprised by the announcement.
“I’m concerned a little bit the season is long, there’s referee shortages and I don’t know if this helps that or not,” Holzheimer said. “But if it makes sense to have more games, then we have more games.”
Holzheimer works with his coaching staff to schedule games, and there could be some weeks with three games.
“Which is fine,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is when you have your boys and girls playing on the same nights now, because you have to, almost. It kind of takes away from your crowds a little bit. I know big schools have done that for a long time.
“I don’t like to do it because it takes away from our crowd, but we may have to do that more often than we’d like.”