WIAA answers contact day questions
Spring sports remain canceled
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control April 21 to cancel 2020 spring sports regular-season competitions and all tournament series.
Meanwhile, the board also extended unrestricted summertime coaching contact for spring sports and supported allowing individual, virtual spring sports coaching to continue until the final day of the 2020 season, which is identified as the final day of the state tournament for each sport.
The extension of the unrestricted summertime coaching contact opportunities apply to spring sports only and will permit teams that include the current year’s seniors to assemble and conduct practices and competitions for up to 30 days – provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed – until the start of a student-athlete’s fall sport season or until the start of school for students not participating in a fall school sport.
The extension is only available to students currently enrolled in grades 9-12.
The WIAA executive staff provided the following answers to frequently asked questions:
30-day unrestricted contact
• Who is allowed to participate in the 30 days of contact?
Students who are currently enrolled in grades 9-12 during the 2020 spring season.
• What if our seniors do not want to play? Can we still use the 30 days?
Yes. However, you must document and record that seniors were asked to play and declined. The 30-day window of contact for spring sports only was developed to offer all 2019-20 spring athletes the opportunity to have closure to their season.
• Can incoming ninth graders (currently eighth graders) be involved with practices/competitions or virtual workouts?
No, the extended period is only for those students currently enrolled in ninth through 12 grades during the 2020 spring season.
• Is the 30 days of contact for grades 9-12 and then five additional for incoming 9-12 graders? We do not have any current seniors on our team. Would that mean 35 days of contact?
The 30-day extension is for continuation of the spring season. The five days of unrestricted school coaching contact would be separate for all sports using the existing parameters and rules. For example, a baseball coach could have a spring practice on July 17 and have an unrestricted gathering that day as well, provided the restrictions on assembling allow it.
• Are the 30 days required to be consecutive?
• Do the 30 days have to stop when fall sports start? Aug. 3 for football, Aug. 17 for volleyball, etc.?
Not necessarily, but if a student is a fall sport athlete, they must discontinue their school-based unrestricted spring (summer) contact when their fall sport season practices begin and at the first day of school for students not participating in fall sports.
• Will junior varsity competitions also be allowed during the extended unrestricted 30-day period?
• Are schools required to use WIAA licensed officials for the competitions that happen during this 30-day window?
Yes, as well as the required number of licensed officials in competition.
• Can high school teams play out-of-state and club teams during the 30 days?
Yes, if approved by district administrators of all competing schools.
• Can we play on Sundays?
This is a local decision (this extended opportunity still requires one day of rest following six consecutive days of practice and/or competition).
• Can schools give out equipment for kids to use, such hitting tees and bats to kids who do not have them at home?
Implements may be provided. Protective equipment may not be provided until the last day of school.
• Does this period allow for actual competitions and not just scrimmages; so uniforms and scoreboards can be used?
Yes, if approved by all competition schools district administrators.
• Are all competitions considered “friendlies” and do not count as far as WIAA records are concerned?
The WIAA does not maintain regular-season statistical records. Therefore, how statistics or records are archived would be a local administration determination.
• Do athletes need to have a valid physical to participate in the extended unrestricted summertime contact period?
If student-athletes have a physical from the spring season, it would count for this extended period of unrestricted coaching contact.
• Do we still have to abide by the practice rules that are in place during a regular season?
Yes, including the requirement of day of rest after six consecutive contact days–and minimum number of practice days prior to competing.
• Does sports acclimatization still apply, as well as the pitch count, for baseball?
All sports’ acclimatization regulations remain unchanged prior to the first competition as does the pitch count during the 30-day window.
• Can acclimatization occur virtually?
Acclimatization is used to get physically in condition. It cannot be done virtually if the 30 days are being used, it must be done with the beginning of that period.
• If we do advance to Phase 2 of the governor’s recovery plan by July 1 and 50 people can gather with social distancing restrictions, how will we keep batter, catcher and umpire 6 feet apart at home plate? Will it be up to schools to have security (i.e. police) to remove the 51st person and anyone above the 50-person threshold from the park/field when we already have capped the threshold with teams, coaches and umpires?
The governor’s order will determine the rules for baseball and softball, and oversight for compliance will be under local control.
• According to the Badger Bounce Back plan, when we are in Phase 1 (whenever that is), there is a 10 person maximum on gatherings. In Phase 2 (whenever that is), there is a 50 person maximum. Will this be applied and required to play with no spectators?
The governor’s order will determine when gatherings may commence and who may attend.
• Could member schools participate as a school team in a virtual track & field meet?
No. School teams cannot compete in a virtual meet. In accordance with the governor’s orders – no extra-curricular activities allowed through the end of the school year. Coaches, at this time, are only allowed to hold virtual workouts with their team. Individual athletes are allowed to participate in virtual track & field meets as one of their two non-school events, with prior permission from their school administration, but they may not represent their school. If, at some point, a school deems that the spring track & field season has ended, then the limitations on non-school events are lifted for the individual athletes. Once the school season has ended, the athlete may compete, independently, in as many virtual meets as they would like.
• Softball is required to have seven practices for acclimatization before competition. If there was a day that only two girls could attend the practice, would that still count towards our program’s seven days?
All existing acclimatization protocol for the respective sports remain unchanged. The minimum days is a team requirement, while desirable for each participant to satisfy this requirement, schools will determine when students may begin competition.
• Can school districts pay for buses, umpires and coaches during the 30-day expanded unrestricted summertime contact?
Yes. School funds and resources may be used for the 30 days of spring extension and for the five unrestricted school coaching contact days for fall and sports once allowed by executive order.
• How does this affect athletes’ participation in nonschool sports during the summer?
All traditional nonschool participation can be conducted simultaneously during the 30 days of unrestricted contact during the summertime, provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed.
• Is there any chance the lettering decision for this spring would be a statewide decision by the WIAA so there is an even playing field?
No. This is a local determination.
• What is allowable coaching contact after the end of the scheduled State Tournament to July 1? Is that window now out of season and rules apply up until our last day of school? Do normal out-of-season coaching rules apply from our last day of school until July 1?
There is no unrestricted school coaching contact from the end of the spring state tournaments until at least July 1 or when the governor’s order allows it.
• Can virtual sport specific unrestricted summer contact begin following the last day of school? How is last day of school determined?
Spring sports may continue coaching contact until the end of their season, which is when the State Tournament would have ended in each respective sport. However, unrestricted school coaching contact is prohibited by the state’s Executive Order until at least July 1 and only after restrictions on gathering in groups are removed.
• Do eligibility rules apply during this 30-day contact window (such as grading, registration, physicals, etc)?
All eligibility rules apply and have not changed. This is an extension of the spring season only.
• With spring sports now canceled this year, will student-athletes receive an additional year of eligibility?
No. A student must complete eligibility in the four consecutive years starting with Grade 9 and the three consecutive years starting with grade 10.
• Could a student, who will not turn 18 yet, apply for a fourth season of eligibility in a year beyond the four consecutive years starting with ninth grade due to the extenuating circumstances?
At this time, a ninth or 10th consecutive semester will not be extended due to the Coronavirus situation.
• Would athletes ineligible for a spring sports because of a code of conduct violation be counted in the 30 contact days towards the suspension?
If the code suspension is served by missing your spring school sanctioned athletic contest, it would consider the suspension as served. Therefore, a spring athlete missing a scheduled spring contest–or a code-prescribed percentage of contests in a season–during the 30 days, it would count as the suspension served. If you are not running the contest through your athletic program, the contest would not count.
• Has anything changed in regards to summer contact for winter and fall sports?
Yes. The dates for the allowed five summer unrestricted contact days will not begin until the state’s restrictions on assembling in groups are removed and practices are allowed to occur. At that time, the WIAA will issue a statement, signifying that schools may begin their unrestricted summer contact days.
• When does the unrestricted coaches contact period end for fall and winter sports?
At this time, there has been no change in coaching contact for fall and winter sports. It ends July 31 for all sports except football, which is July 25.
• Would athletes ineligible for spring sports because of the transfer rule be allowed to participate in the 30 contact days?
No. All eligibility rules still apply for school sports. If they were restricted in the spring, it would still apply.
• Can our high school coaches include current eighth graders in their virtual workouts?
Yes. Varsity and JV can work with 8th graders and below until the first day of school, but not during the Executive Order.
• Would athletes academically ineligible for spring sports be allowed to participate in the 30 contact days?
No. The eligibility rules remain the same. If students have failing grades in the fall, the rule would apply. For the 30 days, the rule that would apply is the “21 calendar days from the first contest” that we use for fall sports if your school’s athletic program is, in fact, using the 30-day spring extension.
• With high school softball season canceled, are the girls allowed to train with their personal or club coach?
Athletes may work with personal trainers and club coaches, attend camps, and attend clinics at any time.
• Has there been any change to any of the WIAA deadlines (i.e. co-op team)?
Co-op deadlines and other rules remain in effect.