The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control acted on coaches committee recommendations impacting hockey and basketball, and several issues in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at its recent June virtual meeting.

In hockey, the board approved retaining a two-division State Tournament Series indefinitely by eliminating the experiment language from the existing regulations. The 2020 State Tournament was the first year of the two-division format and it included the Northland Pines boys hockey team.

The one other hockey recommendation supported by the board implements an eight-minute, sudden victory overtime period followed by a five-minute three-on-three period during the regular season. If no winner is determined after the two overtime periods, the game is recorded as a tie. 

In a tie following regulation play during the Tournament Series hockey game, an eight-minute sudden victory overtime period will be played. If no victor is determined, the ice will be resurfaced followed by a 17-minute sudden victory overtime period. If a winner is still not determined, a five-minute, four-on-four sudden victory period will be played and then a five-minute, three-on-three sudden victory period if necessary. If a winner remains undecided, a 17-minute, three-on-three sudden victory period will be played after a resurfacing of the ice.

For boys and girls basketball, the board approved implementing a computerized seeding system for the State Tournament Series. The system will be developed by the WIAA with the goal to have it available in 2020-’21, and no later than 2021-’22. 

In recognition of the challenges many students may have experienced with access and adapting to virtual schooling last spring following school closures because of COVID-19, the board voted unanimously to allow a school option to defer academic eligibility grade requirements for all students until the first grading period of the 2020-’21 school year. 

In an effort to address the impact on the operational budget following the cancellation of revenue-producing tournaments during the COVID-19 pandemic, the board approved a number of executive staff recommendations to increase revenue and contain expenditures in 2020-’21. All Regional, Sectional and State Tournament ticket prices will be increased $1. 

The WIAA membership oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 513 senior high schools and 49 junior high/middle-level schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2020-’21. 

Hopefully, sports fans will be in the stands at basketball and hockey games this winter to watch all the great high school action.