The WIAA will examine measures to cut costs and generate revenue due to financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WIAA Board of Control discussed revenue and expenses at length during a virtual meeting, which lasted 2 hours, 13 minutes in open session Friday.
There was no action taken about fall sports in the 2020-21 school year amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, which led to a premature end to the girls and boys basketball state tournaments in the winter sports season in March and cancellation of spring sports competitions and state tournaments.
The Board will await developments in upcoming weeks about moving forward during the health crisis, which led to schools in the state being closed through June 30 and virtual learning being put in place. The Board struck a hopeful tenor that students again will be able to connect with classmates and teammates when the time is right and safe.
WIAA executive director Dave Anderson said the organization is sitting as well as can be expected financially considering the circumstances, but he believed it appropriate to examine ways to trim costs and retain or boost revenue.
He said improved attendance at last fall’s state tournaments helped financially. But WIAA finances took a hit when the winter sports season ended prematurely due to the coronavirus.
Only the first of three days of the girls basketball state tournament at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon was held, and limited sized crowds were permitted the first day. The boys basketball state tournament at the Kohl Center was canceled.
“I am glad for where we are,” Anderson said. “Going forward, we are operating on reserves.”
While the organization, which has received Paycheck Protection Program assistance, is navigating “the here and now,” Anderson added, “We also need to be thinking about our future.”
Ticket sales at state tournaments are a primary money-maker, which makes it important from a financial standpoint that state tournaments can be held as soon as safely possible. Ticket sales for WIAA events are 86% of the operating budget, he said.
Anderson’s recommendations to implement for one year included increasing state tournament ticket prices for all tournament events $1 at all levels, charging admission for spring sports tournament sectionals, reducing tournament travel reimbursements, decreasing revenue sharing with tournament hosts, decreasing mileage rate reimbursement for the board, staff and officials, and conducting online committee meetings that would reduce meeting travel reimbursement.
He said he didn’t recommend dropping concussion insurance that is offered or reinstating membership dues.
No action was taken. The Board of Control decided to examine the suggestions and table the matter until its June 24 meeting. Along cost-saving lines, board members also will consider in the next couple weeks whether the annual end-of-year dinner will be held June 23 or in what form it will take.
In other matters, the 2021 boys state golf tournament has been scheduled for June 18-19 (a Friday and Saturday), with June 17 as a practice day, at University Ridge Golf Course.
“We love being at University Ridge,” WIAA assistant director Tom Shafranski said.
In establishing its dates there for next year, the WIAA worked around potential dates for the American Family Insurance Championship (listed as June 5-13, 2021).
Shafranski said the WIAA is seeking a consistent time frame for the boys tournament but each year the WIAA will see where the AmFam tournament is placed on the PGA Tour Champions schedule.
With some medical clinics overwhelmed during the health crisis, the Board of Control backed a recommendation from WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki regarding student-athlete physical examinations.
The Board of Control approved an extension of the alternate year physical exam period that is required for participation.
Those student-athletes needing a new physical but with a physical already on file with their school can get a form and request an extension until they are able to see their primary care physician and complete a new physical. Student-athletes who don’t have a physical on file must get a physical prior to being able to practice.
Parents of participants are required to complete the newly created physical examination extension form and submit the document to local athletic administration.
If answers to any of the questions on the form raise medical concerns or if a student-athlete hasn’t had a sports physical in the past two years, a physical will be required before the student-athlete will be allowed to participate in practice or competition.
Labecki said the WIAA has fielded calls from youth sports groups seeking guidance about possibly playing this summer, including at school sites.
Anderson said the WIAA has no authority over youth sports, but the organization is doing what it can to help. That includes suggesting youth sports groups check with their local schools and the schools’ legal counsel and insurance carriers.
The Board approved the appointment of Dr. Matthew Myrvik, Clinical Sport Psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Associate Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, to the Sports Medical Advisory Committee.
The executive staff shared reports on a number of topics, including support of a University of Wisconsin research study on the impact that the current school closures and cancellation of sports seasons have had on the mental health of student-athletes.
Mike Thompson of the Department of Public Instruction, John Ashley of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Nathan DeLany of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association presented liaison reports.
Thompson said schools (and learning models) likely won’t look the same as they did in February.
“We want to make sure kids go into an environment that is as safe as possible,” Thompson said.
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