WIAA board OKs Division 5 in girls volleyball, other state tournament changes

Student leadership initiative also approved

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control authorized the Tournament Series format to accommodate a fifth division of girls volleyball in 2024 and approved plans for a student leadership program at its January meeting on Jan. 31.

The board approved four recommendations originated and advanced by the Volleyball Coaches Advisory Committees, including two that revamp the Tournament Series that expands to five girls’ divisions next fall. The plan places the largest 116 enrollments of schools sponsoring girls volleyball in Division 1, and Divisions 2, 3, 4 and 5 will consist of the remaining schools divided equally.

To accommodate the addition of four teams and three games, the state tournament will expand to Wednesday afternoon and evening with the boys volleyball quarterfinals. The boys semifinals games will be played Thursday afternoon with the championship game scheduled for Friday evening.

The girls Division 5 and the Division 4 semifinals are scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively, with the girls Division 1 quarterfinals to be played Thursday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The girls Division 1 semifinals are slated for Friday at 1 p.m. The girls Division 3 and Division 2 semifinals will be played Friday at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively.

The girls championships Saturday will begin with Division 5 at 9 a.m. followed by Division 4 at 11:30 a.m., Division 3 at 2 p.m., Division 2 at 5 p.m. and Division 1 at 7:30 p.m.

One of the other two volleyball changes approved adds a fifth day (Sunday-Thursday) to the window that seed meetings may be scheduled, and the other requires teams to wear contrasting colors at the state tournament for the ease of identifying teams unless the schools do not have uniforms of contrasting colors.

Soccer, football changes

The lone rule change in boys soccer permits tournament series games on a shared football and soccer natural-turf field if agreed upon by participating schools prior to the day of the game.

One football recommendation approved by the board changes the verbiage for the football playoff awards.

The round formerly identified on the Level 3 plaques will be changed to “Sectional Champions,” which will be presented to the winner of the third-round game. The former Level 4 game will now be identified as the “State Semifinals” with only medals still being presented following the semifinal games.

Student Leadership Group

Plans for a WIAA Student Leadership Group were approved. The student-athletes will serve as ambassadors for their peers and the WIAA while learning more about athletic leadership and the sports industry, as well as providing the membership with a student-athlete voice for advancing the purpose of education-based athletics.

The launch of the initiative will begin with nominations of student-athletes to serve on the leadership team beginning in March with the first meeting of the group in May.

School principals or athletic directors may nominate one current sophomore and junior to be a prospective member of the committee next year. After the first year of the initiative, all student-athletes will serve two-year terms.