The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Conference Realignment Task Force Committee reviewed plans on Jan. 6 for football-only conferences that were initially advanced for further consideration and to conduct appeals of realignment requests that were denied last month.

The 11-player realignment proposals that were advanced for further review will be advanced to the Board of Control for final approval at its March 5 meeting, with the exception of the conferences included in a modified Marinette realignment proposal that requires another review on Feb. 11.

In addition, the modified 8-player plan that originated with requests from De Soto, Lake Holcombe, Niagara and Pembine/Goodman and forms nine 8-player football conferences will advance to the board for final consideration on March 5.

The 11-player realignment plans to be reviewed by the board moves 20 programs from their existing conference affiliation. An additional three programs will change conference affiliation if the Marinette proposal is advanced from the February committee meeting and approved by the board at its March 5 meeting. If approved, the football-only realignment plans become effective in 2022. 

One of the changes moves Clintonville (enrollment of 494) of the Packerland Conference to the Northwoods Conference, which already includes Northland Pines (389), Oconto Falls (489), Tomahawk (377), Menominee Indian (278), Crandon (247), Coleman (214) and Crivitz (202). Marinette of the North Eastern Conference would move to the Packerland Conference.

In the 8-player football realignment plan, the Northern Border Conference would include Three Lakes/Phelps (184 enrollment) , Elcho/White Lake (87), Florence (114), Goodman/Pembine (103), Niagara (142) and Wabeno/Laona (172).

The intent of the new conference realignment process is to apply a more formalized method for member schools to request relief from conference affiliations. A committee of member school administrators has been established to evaluate all realignment requests and present them to the board, which retains the authority to make final determinations of all conference alignment decisions.

The WIAA says the new collaborative model adds structure, enhanced communication and transparency to the realignment process. All levels of school administration at each member school are informed of the committee’s deliberations and decisions.

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 514 senior high schools and 46 junior high/middle level schools in its membership.