The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control approved a number of coaches’ recommendations impacting spring season sports regulations, including softball, track and field, and baseball, and passed the 2018-’19 operational budget at its recent meeting.

Two recommendations in softball were approved by the board. The first implements seeding for all divisions once the State tournament field has been determined, beginning in 2019.

The other change addresses low team participation numbers. Student-athletes may not participate in more than 26 games in a season; however, in programs with 20 or fewer players at two levels, players participating in either one inning of a varsity game or three innings of a sub-varsity game will not count toward the maximum 26 games. A waiver for counting games in this manner is no longer required.

In track and field, the board passed a coaches’ recommendation to define tournament divisional cutoffs based on the gender with the greatest number of schools placed in a division when a discrepancy occurs between the total number of boys and girls programs within a division.

The board also approved a recommendation to flip the boys and girls schedule of events for the field events within each division at the State Track & Field Meet beginning in 2019. The action will not change the schedule of the wheelchair events. Also approved was the plan to move the start time of the State meet on Saturday to 10 a.m., with the exception of the discus competition, which will continue to start at 9:30 a.m.

In response to the influx of summer baseball programs moving to the spring, the board ratified a coaches’ recommendation to increase the number of Division 1 teams to 112 from 96 beginning in 2020. The remaining teams will be divided evenly into Divisions 2, 3 and 4. 

The other baseball recommendation approved by the board allows conferences or host schools to adopt a time limit for sub-varsity games, unless ties occur during regular-season tournaments that require extending the time limit. 

The board also ratified the WIAA’s $9.25 million operational budget for 2018-’19 and approved editorial changes to the membership’s licensing and royalty policy.

Another topic introduced in the executive staff reports to the board included plans for the 2018 Sportsmanship Summit, set for Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Stevens Point.

The purpose of the summit is to assist membership schools with their citizenship and sportsmanship efforts for students, student-athletes, adult fans, advisors, parents and booster clubs; developing plans to improve or maintain good sportsmanship locally; and assisting schools in identifying and implementing a safe, respectful and education-based environment for high school sports.