Fall sports will still be held, but athletes and fans will have to wait a little bit to get started.
The WIAA Board of Control voted 8-3 Thursday to amend the start date of fall sports.
Sports the board labeled “lower risk” – girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and cross country – can begin practicing Aug. 17.
“Higher-risk” sports – football, boys soccer and girls volleyball – cannot start practice until Sept. 7.
“I sure like this a lot better than canceling the season,” Lutheran athletic director Al Holzheimer said. “I’m just happy we’re doing something instead of canceling. … I’m glad they looked at each sport individually and I think what they did made the most sense.”
The first football practice was scheduled for Aug. 4, and golf, tennis and swimming were supposed to get underway the following week.
Volleyball and soccer practice was slated to begin Aug. 17, and there is no change to cross county since it was always set for that day.
“It is a relief to just be able to know that the WIAA is behind at least trying to start a fall season, have a football season, they’re still willing to put some plans together,” Kohler/Lutheran/Christian football coach Ryan Eigenberger said.
“It’s a relief to know the decision has been made, otherwise you’re always kind of waiting for the worst throughout this month.
“It was pretty good to hear.”
The WIAA said if school districts opt not to participate in sports, a spring opportunity will be provided and details of that are still to be determined (as of The Beacon’s deadline Friday).
Prior to the WIAA’s special meeting, there was talk of possibly moving fall sports to spring, and spring sports would be held in summer.
“That would really make a big mess out of everything, especially for soccer with the shortage of coaches, fields and I wonder how that would affect vacations,” North soccer coach Tim Eirich said. “I just don’t think that would be a good idea at all.”
One of the items athletic directors across the state are now focusing on is schedules.
The first golf meets were originally scheduled for Aug. 13, and swim meets were set to begin two days later. Week 1 of the football season was as early as Aug. 20.
“We’ll just have to move our schedule around, maybe have a shortened schedule, but we’re going to make the adjustments,” said South volleyball coach Abby Sigler. “I’m just happy that they’re giving it a shot and we’re going to be able to hopefully have some sort of a season – whatever that looks like.”
Or as WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson put it:
“Because of the Board’s action, while they can’t make any guarantees that things will work out as we plan them, they have given us the opportunity to at least hope and work in that direction.
“We understand this decision will make some happy and others disappointed, but we will do our best to deliver to our membership what they have directed us to do.”