A plan aimed at improving the fairness of postseason competition for middle and high school sports in Wisconsin is moving forward after years of debate.
Set to take effect in the 2024-25 school year, the plan will assign points to teams based on their success in state tournaments. With enough repeated success, teams may be moved up to higher levels of competition for future seasons.
Member schools of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association rejected a similar plan nearly a decade ago to address concerns over unfair levels of competition. But the new plan approved by association members includes an appeal process.
"We felt that there was a need for schools to be able to have a strong opportunity to request (a change). Everyone has different situations at their schools and with certain sports," said Michelle Guyant-Holloway, an athletic director for Wauwatosa East High School who participated in an association task force that developed the new plan.
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During a recent appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio’s "The Morning Show," Guyant-Holloway said the new plan drew inspiration from changes to postseason competition that were recently adopted in Colorado. In Wisconsin, when a team accumulates 6 points within three years, it may be moved up to a higher level of competition.
- Winning the state title is 4 points.
- Reaching the state final is 3 points.
- Making the state semifinal is 2 points.
- Advancing to the state quarterfinals is 1 point.
A group of 15 to 20 superintendents, school district administrators, principals and athletic directors will make up the classification committee that hears team appeals. Additionally, the WIAA will have a staff member acting as a liaison on the committee, Guyant-Holloway said.
"We’re making this as fair and as equitable as possible for schools because the perception out there was that some schools have more of an advantage and others have a disadvantage," she said.
Applying only to postseason play, the plan allows regular-season rivalries to remain intact if one team changes division for state tournaments. Guyant-Holloway said teams may be able to move back down in competition levels if needed.
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