The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control addressed the pending winter tournament series at its meeting last week.

The board approved hosting and attendance policies due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as requiring appropriately worn masks by participants and spectators, except for competing gymnasts while performing routines.

For Regionals and Sectionals involving two teams — including basketball and hockey — host schools are to provide a minimum of four spectators per travel party as defined in the tournament regulations. The boys and girls hockey tournament for Northland Pines starts this week and will include games at the Eagle River Sports Arena. Meanwhile, the boys and girls basketball tournaments will start the following week with Northland Pines, Three Lakes and Phelps teams participating.

The board also decided that schools able to accommodate only two spectators per travel party member at the regional level must contact the WIAA office.

For Regionals and Sectionals involving multiple teams — including wrestling, gymnastics and swimming and diving — host schools may provide a minimum of two spectators per participant where allowed by the local health department.

For statewide uniformity and consistency during the tournaments, the board reaffirmed the policy requiring a 14-day quarantine period for individuals having close contact with positive COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile,  the WIAA has named the La Crosse Center as one of the two host venues for the 2021 Girls and Boys State Basketball Tournaments scheduled for Feb. 25-27 and March 4-6, respectively.

Three of the five divisions, to be determined at a later date, will be held at the facility for both genders with two semifinals and a championship game for each division scheduled on one of the three days. Another site has yet to be named (see related story on the Northland Pines School District attempt to get a Sectional or State tournament at the fieldhouse).

The WIAA membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 515 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It’s especially a big job during tournament time, and now during a pandemic.