The Conference Realignment Task Force for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) recently reviewed 17 football-only requests in the first meeting of the membership’s 2022-’23 realignment review process.

Ten plans involving 13 schools requesting relief from their current conference affiliation in 11-player football included Ashland, Hayward, Horicon/Hustisford, Marinette, Oshkosh North, Oshkosh West, Pardeeville, River Falls, Sun Prairie East, Sun Prairie West, West Allis Central, West Allis Hale and West Salem. 

The four schools and plans requesting relief from their 11-player conference affiliation to move to an eight-player football league in 2022-’23 include De Soto, Goodman/Pembine, Lake Holcombe and Niagara.

Just last year, the task force completed new football conferences across the state, including the new Northwoods Football Conference in northeast Wisconsin. It includes Northland Pines, Coleman, Crandon, Crivitz, Menominee Indian, Northern Elite, Oconto Falls and Tomahawk, though schools making up the Northern Elite co-op team (Goodman, Pembine and Niagara) are now opting for the eight-player format.

In addition, the modified eight-player plan that is being advanced impacts the entire state and several 11-player conferences. The plan originated with requests from De Soto, Lake Holcombe, Niagara and Pembine/Goodman, and forms 11 conferences for eight-player football.

In this area, the new eight-player football conference would be called the Northern Border Conference, and would include Three Lakes/Phelps, Elcho/White Lake, Florence, Goodman/Pembine, Niagara and Wabeno/Laona. The teams would be basically from the Northern Lakes Conference.

If plans advance from the January meeting, the WIAA Board of Control will review and make a final determination on each of the proposals at its March 5, 2021, meeting.

Schools submitting requests that were not advanced may appeal the decision at the task force meeting Jan. 6, 2021. Appeals, if successful, will be communicated with the membership and re-evaluated by the task force. If the revised solutions are approved on appeal, they will be submitted to the board of control for consideration with any modifications and solutions communicated to the membership. If the appeal is not approved by the task force, schools can make a final appeal to the board of control at its meeting Jan. 27, 2021.

The WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 514 senior high schools and 48 junior high/middle schools in its membership.