High school basketball fans in Wisconsin can expect to watch more boys and girls basketball beginning in a couple years.

That’s because the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control voted at its June meeting to increase the maximum number of basketball games permitted in a season from 22 to 24 at the varsity level only beginning with the 2020-’21 season.

When I?played high school basketball from 1975 to ‘78, we were allowed 18 regular season games, followed by WIAA?tournament play. Eventually, coaches asked for more games and it was increased to 20, then 22 and now 24. I think a lot of that has to due with holiday tournaments, where teams might play two or three games between Christmas and New Years. 

Another  change clarifies that individual participation limits will be determined strictly by number of halves. The maximum number of halves a student-athlete may participate in during a season remains unchanged at 66.

In hockey, the board approved a new overtime procedure for all WIAA Tournament Series games. Teams will remain in the bench area for a three-minute break to be followed by an eight-minute, sudden-victory overtime period. If a winner has not been determined following the first overtime, a 15-minute intermission with ice resurfacing will precede a 17-minute, sudden-victory overtime. If a tie remains, the procedure will repeat.

The board also approved the hockey recommendation to increase the number of team medals at Sectionals and at State to 22, which allows for each player on the bench to receive a medal.

In another sport-related board action, the boys golf season in 2020 will be moved one week later to accommodate for the American Family Insurance Championship that will be held the traditional week of the State Boys Golf Tournament at University Ridge Golf Course. The new dates for the State meet in 2020 will be June 15-16.

The WIAA also is concerned about injuries to student-athletes. There were two Medical Advisory Committee recommendations to receive approval at the Board of Control meeting. 

The first increases the maximum head, neck or cervical injury evaluation time from four minutes to five minutes. The other requires any student-athlete that losses consciousness must be medically evaluated and cleared to play before being allowed to return to participation.

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 511 senior high schools and 43 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2018-’19.