WIAA approves realignment plan

Xavier High School football action
Xavier High School football action (WLUK/Doug Ritchay)

STEVENS POINT — Wednesday was decision day for the Green Bay realignment plan and after discussion was heard by some member schools the WIAA the Board of Control voted 10-1 in favor.

What this means is a lot, but in a nutshell Green Bay West and Green Bay East move from the Fox River Classic Conference to the Bay and Xavier moves from the Eastern Valley to the Bay.

These changes will take place for the 2015-16 school year.

West and East were seeking a move to a smaller conference with the hope they will become more competitive. The FRCC will go from a 12-team league to 10 with East and West leaving.

“It’s an opportunity to put us in a conference we can compete in, that better fits our data and enrollment numbers with the new conference to build up our programs with the competition,” West athletics director Josh Murnane said. “It’s a very good conference. It’s still going to be a challenge; we’ve got to build our programs but it’ll be a better fit for us numbers-wise and competition-wise.”

The plan has been football driven from the start and based on that the Wildcats and Red Devils have some work to do to become competitive in the Bay. West is 1-35 over the last four seasons, while East is 10-26.

They now will play against the likes of West De Pere, which is 48-3 over the same time with two Division 3 state titles, and Xavier, which is 33-10 with two Level 4 appearances in Division 3.

Meanwhile, Xavier didn’t want to leave the Eastern Valley where rivals Fox Valley Lutheran, Little Chute and Freedom remain and athletics director Kathy Bates pleaded her school’s case one more time, but with no change.

“Disappointed, I think we had some valid concerns,” Bates said. “We’ll try to move on. I’m just looking at if we have to play back-to-back-to-back, Seymour, West De Pere, New London, Menasha in a row we might be all heart, no limbs by the end of the season.”

Also notable is Waupaca will be in the Bay for football only and remain in the Eastern Valley for all other sports.

The Eastern Valley will also have a new look with Denmark, Luxemburg-Casco, Marinette, Oconto Falls and Wrightstown joining FVL, Clintonville, Freedom and Little Chute.

Current Eastern Valley schools Berlin, Ripon and Winneconne are leaving the Eastern Valley and will form a new conference yet to be named. Other members will be Campbellsport, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Kewaskum, Plymouth and Waupun.

Finally, the realignment plan will leave the Packerland with five schools that play 11-man football, so the conference asked for schedule relief. That could result in schools playing each other twice during the season.

The WIAA knows this plan doesn’t please everybody, but it felt there was no better time like the present to make the change.

“You try to minimize the unhappiness, you try to put them in a place where they’re competitive. I think at this place in time the plan needed to go.”

—Also on Wednesday the Board of Control voted other football issues.

Among them the highest seeded team will now host through Level 3 of the playoffs with the stipulation the WIAA reserves the final authority to determine locations.

The running clock guidelines have been modified to address point differentials of 35 points or more after the first quarter. With mutual consent of the participating coaches, running clock provisions may be implemented beginning at the start of the second quarter.

Also, language in the football playoff qualifying criteria was altered to replace winning percentage of all games with the winning percentage in conference play only when the initial criteria to determine the field is less than 224 teams beginning next fall.

In non-football news:

There are three changes to the soccer regulations. The boys soccer season will start and end one week later beginning in the fall of 2015, and the regional dates will be moved from a Tuesday/Thursday schedule to Thursday/Saturday.

A waiver will be sought from the NFHS to experiment with 45-minute halves and eliminate the overtime during the regular season at the varsity level only. The tournament series will play 45-minute halves and two full 10-minute overtimes with no sudden victory. If a winner is not determined after two overtime periods, penalty kicks will break the tie.

GREEN BAY REALIGNMENT PLAN

  • Plan to take effect for 2015-16 school year
  • Enrollments in parentheses.

FRCC

  • Ashwaubenon (1,019)
  • Bay Port (1,739)
  • De Pere (1,290)
  • Green Bay Preble (2,160)
  • Green Bay Southwest (1,207)
  • Manitowoc (1,570)
  • Notre Dame (759)
  • Pulaski (1,132)
  • Sheboygan North (1,709)
  • Sheboygan South (1,395)

Eastern Wisconsin

  • Brillion (318)
  • Chilton (373)
  • Kiel (447)
  • New Holstein (341)
  • Roncalli (358)
  • Sheboygan Falls (538)
  • Two Rivers (531)
  • Valders (346)

New Conference

  • Berlin (527)
  • Campbellsport (470)
  • Kettle Moraine Lutheran (428)
  • Kewaskum (596)
  • Plymouth (797)
  • Ripon (585)
  • Waupun (592)
  • Winneconne (484)

Bay  (all sports but football)

  • Green Bay East (1,267)
  • Green Bay West (958)
  • Menasha (980)
  • New London (778)
  • Seymour (713)
  • Shawano (830)
  • West De Pere (816)
  • Xavier (604)

Bay (football only)

  • Green Bay East (1,267)
  • Green Bay West (958)
  • Menasha (980)
  • New London (778)
  • Seymour (713)
  • Shawano (830)
  • Waupaca (725)
  • West De Pere (816)
  • Xavier (604)

Flyway

  • Laconia (320)
  • Lomira (345)
  • Mayville (425)
  • North Fond du Lac (375)
  • Omro (375)
  • St. Lawrence (374)
  • St. Mary’s Springs (240)
  • Winnebago Lutheran Academy (335)

Packerland

  • Algoma (206)
  • Gibraltar (205)
  • N.E.W. Lutheran (125)
  • Kewaunee (320)
  • Oconto (292)
  • Sevastopol (142)
  • Southern Door (384)
  • Sturgeon Bay (392)

Olympian/Central Lakeshore

  • Cedar Grove-Belgium (319)
  • Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah (140)
  • Hilbert (173)
  • Howards Grove (284)
  • Kohler (161)
  • Manitowoc Lutheran (232)
  • Mishicot (289)
  • Oostburg (327)
  • Ozaukee (221)
  • Random Lake (311)
  • Reedsville (217)
  • St. Mary Central (230)
  • Sheboygan Lutheran (144)
  • Sheboygan Christian (98)

M&O

  • Coleman (215)
  • Crivitz (217)
  • Gillett (189)
  • Lena (97)
  • Niagara (149)
  • Oneida Nation (86)
  • Peshtigo (386)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (50)
  • Suring (135)
  • Wausaukee (155)

Eastern Valley (all sports but football)

  • Clintonville (467)
  • Denmark (508)
  • Fox Valley Lutheran (542)
  • Freedom (525)
  • Little Chute (478)
  • Luxemburg-Casco (579)
  • Marinette (625)
  • Oconto Falls (530)
  • Waupaca (725)
  • Wrightstown (455)

Eastern Valley (football only)

  • Clintonville (467)
  • Denmark (508)
  • Fox Valley Lutheran (542)
  • Freedom (525)
  • Little Chute (478)
  • Luxemburg-Casco (579)
  • Marinette (625)
  • Oconto Falls (530)
  • Wrightstown (455)

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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