Bay Conference to avoid nonconference play this fall

Most conference tournaments, multi-team events scrapped
By: 
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Updated: July 31, 12:15 a.m.

The Bay Conference voted Thursday to only play conference events this fall.

The decision to play only conference games was a 7-0 vote from conference athletic directors.

The conference also announced that all multi-team events, like quads, tournaments and invitationals, would be canceled this fall, with girls golf and cross-country events being possible exceptions.

Another point of discussion was the possibility of limiting attendance at sporting events, with volleyball at the center of the conversation as its the only indoor sport in the fall. A final decision was not made, but Shawano Athletic Director Joel Wondra said the sentiment was to allow two or four tickets per athlete.

“I’ll be candid and say that I went into the meeting with the expectation that by the end of the meeting we’d have more answers,” said Wondra, who noted the conference ADs meet again Aug. 4. “Unfortunately, there are what seem to be endless considerations that need to be accounted for in making these decisions.”

The athletic directors also discussed season plans, schedules and protocols for each of the fall sports.

Wondra noted that a potential issue facing the conference is that superintendents in Brown County made the recommendation to postpone the start of the “low risk sports” — cross-country, girls swim, girls tennis and girls golf — until Sept. 1. A decision on the matter, which could affect Green Bay East, Green Bay West and West De Pere should the schools decide to follow that recommendation, is expected this coming Monday.

In the WIAA’s ruling July 23, those four sports were allowed to start practicing on Aug. 17.

Because of the uncertainty of those three schools, the conference’s other members are unable to build conference schedules at this time.

Football

Wondra said the conference’s football schedule will be influenced by whether teams from the North Eastern Conference, the Bay’s sister conference, are willing and able to play teams from the Bay. Kingsford and Menominee, both teams from Michigan, are part of the new NEC and add another potential obstacle for Shawano and the other Bay schools.

The conference is hoping to cancel its originally scheduled matchups from weeks one and two and then move the week three and four matchups to the end of the season.

Shawano was scheduled to host Kingsford on Sept. 11 (week four), so the rescheduled date would be Oct. 30. Michigan is set to start its postseason that week, and said it might qualify each team for the postseason, so Kingsford would not be able to play in Shawano that week.

As of right now, the WIAA has not announced its plans for postseason play in any sport.

As a “high risk sport,” football cannot start practicing until Sept. 7.

Boys soccer

The Bay is proposing a double round-robin format for the boys soccer season, which also begins practice Sept. 7. All of the conference games would count.

There will be no conference tournament, and the conference will decide later on how to crown a conference winner.

Volleyball

Girls volleyball is the other sport that cannot start practicing until Sept. 7.

The Bay will also put together a double round-robin schedule for volleyball, with each game counting.

No conference tournament will be held and a decision on how to crown a conference champion will be determined at a later date.

Wondra noted that weekday events would start at 5:30 p.m. with JV1/JV2 matches, with varsity matches to follow at 7 p.m. He also said Saturday matches would also be likely.

Cross-country

While there was plenty of discussion regarding the cross-country season, no final decision were made, according to Wondra.

He said the Bay was exploring a conference schedule consisting of regular-season dual meets, with the possibility of a conference tournament.

Having two conference schools that were not able to host meets because of a lack of facilities threw a wrench in the plan. The conference explored the idea of having host sites that could host multiple duals on the same day.

Wondra gave this example: “Instead of running our invite on 9/12, we would host a double dual. The format would be to have Shawano and a second school compete in a dual at one time. When that dual was over, two other schools would come and compete in a dual. The group felt this was safer than conducting a quad, but did recognize that it puts an added burden on the host schools.”

A discussion was had about limiting the number of runners to eight each for all JV and varsity teams.

Girls golf

The Bay is considering a move from its normal conference tour schedule to a schedule instead made up of duals, triangulars and quads.

Because its a “low risk sport,” the conference believes it can hold multi-team events, and possibly a conference tournament.

Girls tennis

The girls tennis schedule will be a single round-robin format.

A conference tournament is also a possibility, but no final decision was made.

Girls swim

Social distancing concerns were a big talking point when discussing the girls swim season.

With only three conference schools represented at the meeting — several members of the swim conference are associate members from other conferences — the consensus was to only hold dual meets. The conference’s relay, sprint and conference tournament meets, all multi-team events, were canceled.

“We discussed several ideas to address the challenges of social distancing in the pool, even for dual meets,” said Wondra. “An idea was shared to have teams compete in their own pools on meet day. Official times would be taken and meet results would be based on those times. We are checking with the WIAA to see if we can split the two officials normally contracted for a meet so that one goes to one pool and the other goes to the other pool.”

The Bay is also mindful of getting enough meets in to reach the WIAA requirement to qualify for the postseason, should the WIAA allow it.

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