(Renton, WA) The WIAA Executive Board usually meets 5 or 6 times a year but so far this year they have met about 40 times since the shut down of sports. Of course their focus has been on re-starting sports and activities. Certainly that must be the focus at this point but it is not their only focus. The Board is moving forward with their regular business as well including the annual Winter Coalition meeting where the full Representative Assembly meets to discuss potential changes in rules, schedules and operations.
For a reminder of how the WIAA organization works the Executive Director (Mick Hoffman) and his staff of 11 do not vote on rules and/or changes but are charged with carrying out the wishes of the membership. The membership made up of nearly 800 High and Middle Schools and are represented by a 13 member Executive Board and 53 member Assembly. The staff works closely with the Executive Board who funnel much of the information and oversees the operation of the WIAA staff.
The 53 member assembly are the ones who vote on proposed changes and they do that once a year, unless there is a need for additional action. The process is very democratic and done by vote of the membership. It is the job of the WIAA to carryout the memberships desires and to inform the voting members of all the details of each proposal which come in the form of amendments.
This year there are 10 amendments up for discussion and then voting. Some have been proposed before and have failed and this is not an unusual process, in fact it’s more the norm. Ideas many times need to be mulled over, adjusted and compromise to gain enough support to be approved. To pass 60% must vote in favor, a supermajority.
The amendment that likely will have the most eyes on it is the one that would allow more than 20 regular season basketball games. This is at least the 3rd time this or a similar proposal will come before the assembly. This amendment would allow up to 23 regular season games. The way they get to 23 is teams could drop one regular season game, leaving 19 on the schedule and replace that game with up to a 4-game tournament. Additionally, teams could get a 24th game with a WIAA Foundation game and one other exemption which would add another game is a contest against an international touring team. Schools are eligible to play in one of these games every 3 years, if they chose to play more then those games would count toward the 20.
Supporters of this amendment say this will help schools suffering revenue shortages to make up some of those dollars with a 1 time tournament play. They say that most of these tournaments would be played during the Winter break so it would not impact attending classes and they add with so many leagues expanding it is eating up the potential non-league contests and the opportunity to play outside the league. Teams would not be required to play in a tournament and could stick to the 20 game limit.
The other amendments up for consideration include adding flag football, 7 on 7 and sand volleyball to be separate and distinct sports. There are a couple proposals regarding eligibility, one amendment would let 1B and 2B schools allow 8th grade students from non-WIAA middle schools to participate on their High School teams while another ask would let 1A schools use 8th grade students on their teams. An amendment for wrestling is similar to the basketball request where a 2-day wrestling tournament would count as one event.
These 10 amendments will be voted on during the Winter Coalition meeting set for January 25. It is usually held in person in Renton but this year it is a virtual event.