The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Board of Control reviewed and acted on coaches’ committee recommendations impacting winter sports, including hockey and wrestling, at its last meeting.

Four hockey recommendations received approval from the board. In an ongoing trend to seed State tournaments, boys hockey coaches of teams advancing to the tournament quarterfinals will determine the seeds for the eight qualifying boys teams, and the four coaches of the teams advancing to the girls State tournament semifinals will seed the four qualifying girls teams beginning in 2018-’19.

In 2020 when the boys tournament transitions to four teams in two divisions, the boys coaches in each division will seed all four teams in each bracket. Northland Pines will likely be in Division 2. 

In another seeding-related item in hockey, the highest-seeded team will be designated the home team throughout the entire tournament series. The highest-seeded team will wear white uniforms and have the final line change beginning next season.

Other hockey items passed by the board include a requirement of a two-year commitment for programs opting to play up a division and to allow 22 players in uniform and a maximum of two high school student managers, four coaches and one medical person on the bench during the tournament series.

In a wrestling-related decision, the board added language to the season regulations in wrestling that allows teams with eight or fewer wrestlers that submit, and are approved for, a waiver to scrimmage with other schools with eight or fewer wrestlers up to two times per week during the regular season beginning in 2018-’19. This move could help smaller wrestling programs such as Three Lakes.

The board approved six other wrestling recommendations into the season regulations. Two of the items involve junior varsity programs. One allows junior varsity wrestlers to represent the team in a junior varsity dual and exhibition on the same night subject to the individual participation limitations. The other adds a Wisconsin adaptation that allows junior varsity dual meets to reduce the number of NFHS weight classes. 

Two other approved recommendations in wrestling address seeding the State Team Wrestling Tournament. The first moves the seed meeting to the Saturday morning of the State individual tournament. The second eliminates the random draw aspect of the seeding to now seed all eight Division 1 and all four Divisions 2 and 3 qualifying teams.

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 512 senior high schools in its membership. It sponsors 27 championship tournament series for boys and girls in 2017-’18. That’s a tall task.