WIAA cancels annual meeting in April, delays decision on fate of spring sports season amid COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

WIAA cancels annual meeting in April, delays decision on fate of spring sports season amid COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

WIAA logo, generic file photo

The WIAA Board of Control voted at a special meeting Thursday to cancel the 2020 annual meeting April 22 and to delay making a determination on whether the spring sports seasons and tournaments will be played or canceled.

The Board of Control, responding to a report from the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee, exercised its authority to make emergency decisions afforded by the membership’s constitution to cancel the annual meeting scheduled for April 22, according to a release from WIAA communications director Todd Clark. The meeting was done by video conferencing. 

The decision came in response to the concern about and efforts to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The amendments to the membership’s Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Eligibility advanced to the annual meeting for a membership vote now will be tabled and addressed at the annual meeting in April of 2021.

The WIAA’s financial report and discussion of old and new business will be conducted at the 2020 area meetings in the fall.

The board took into consideration the directives of Gov. Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services.

The board, after a lengthy discussion, decided to postpone any decision to cancel the spring sports seasons and the spring State Tournament Series until a later unspecified date.

This position is consistent with the current state and local guidelines, as well as advice from the Sports Medical Advisory Committee.

A clearer position could unfold as developments arise and new information becomes available, according to the release.

The WIAA plans to follow the directives and guidance of state health and governmental officials pertaining to the outbreak.

The board received an update on the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic from Dr. Kevin Walter, who is the Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, associate professor at Wisconsin Medical College, and chairman of the Sports Medical Advisory Committee.

Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association also provided reports related to developments associated with the virus.

The Board also resolved to maintain the general election schedule for Advisory Council and Board of Control positions as outlined in the Constitution, including the published deadlines for returning ballots.

The Board also took no action on deciding whether to conduct the 2020 Scholar-Athlete Banquet at this time. The banquet is scheduled for May 3.

The board discussed bringing closure to the 2020 winter seasons as result of the cancellations of the boys and girls state basketball tournament series.

It determined how teams and athletes will be recognized in accordance with their advancement to the various levels of the tournaments, but that determination wasn’t announced in the release. 

Asked by the State Journal for clarification, Clark responded that WIAA assistant director Kate Peterson "is working with our awards vendor on the specifics and type of recognition and what it will say. The board gave the approval of awards with statement recognizing the level they advanced when play was halted, including sectional finalist, state finalist, state qualifier, but what those recognition items will look like is still a work in progress."

The board also voted to authorize the WIAA executive director to access the WIAA financial reserves to navigate the remainder of the 2019-20 fiscal year.

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