STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control approved the addition of lacrosse as a sanctioned sport and three fast-tracked conference realignment requests at its December meeting today.
After receiving a presentation from the committee assigned to evaluate the feasibility of adding boys and girls lacrosse to sports sponsored by the WIAA, the Board unanimously passed the proposal that targets the spring of the 2023-24 school year for the inaugural season with a Tournament Series. Additional details, including season regulations and tournament procedure, will be communicated when they become available. It’s the first time an entirely new sport has been introduced for both genders since the addition of boys and girls soccer in 1982-83. Since that time, hockey and wrestling expanded to girls sponsorship in 2002 and 2022, respectively, and boys volleyball was reinstated in 2000, but those sports were already sanctioned for the other gender.
“We commend members of the planning committee for months of work and collaboration with member schools that already sponsor the sport,” WIAA Executive Director Stephanie Hauser said. “Our staff and membership look forward to the new opportunity for student-athletes to participate in a sport quickly gaining popularity around the nation.”
Three fast-tracked nonfootball conference realignment requests were passed by a Board vote. The first moves Wisconsin Dells from the Capitol Conference to the South Central Conference for boys soccer only beginning in the fall of 2023. The second moves Arcadia from the Midwestern Wisconsin Conference to the Mississippi Valley Conference for boys and girls soccer beginning in 2023-24. The third renews the membership of Beloit Memorial in the Big Eight Conference for boys hockey, after being realigned in the Southern Lakes Conference for all other sports except boys hockey in 2021 and girls hockey, which is in the Badger Conference.
Among the action items approved by the Board include the 2021-22 independent audit report conducted and presented by Hawkins Ash CPAs, the October general fund statements and payments, the deferred liability fund report for September, and the 2022-23 meeting dates calendar.
The executive staff provided reports to the Board on the Competitive Balance Ad Hoc Committee, continued efforts to recruit and retain licensed officials, review of participation in the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association Conference, awareness of upcoming membership elections, a review of fall tournaments as well as an update on the InsideOut Initiative endorsed by the Board in October.
The Board received liaison reports from John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Paul Manriquez of the Department of Public Instruction and Eric Plitzuweit of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
The WIAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit organization. The membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 518 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. For more information, please contact the WIAA office at (715) 344-8580.
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