Area conferences and schools making decisions about fall sports

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By Charley Preusser and Ted Pennekamp


Some area conferences and schools have made decisions regarding fall sports. Some schools are still exploring options.

Seneca’s three fall sports seasons will be moved to spring, the Seneca School Board decided at their meeting Monday night.

On a 6-0 voice vote, the board approved moving football, volleyball and cross country to a season following the end of winter sports and before the start of spring sports. Brittany Joy, wife of assistant football coach Derek Joy, abstained from the vote.

The head coach of the Seneca-Wauzeka-Steuben Blue-Golds, Justin Goodrich, attended the meeting. He told the board that while he favored a fall season, he would understand if they made the decision to not play in fall and opted for a spring season. 

Goodrich emphasized that it was important to him that the board make a decision so that he could make plans based on the decision. The coach also noted the importance of the co-op team with the Wauzeka-Steuben School District, which has revived the football programs for both schools.

“I don’t want to go back to the days of 17 players on the team,” Goodrich said.

Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland said the Ridge and Valley Conference had decided teams playing in a fall volleyball season would wear masks.

Board member Larry Kelley described the mask idea as wrong.

The cross country season would be a little different, as the meets would try to keep runners apart at the start and finish. This might include a staggered start and separate finish lines. Masks might be required at the start. 

Boland emphasized he favored not doing something in the sports season that would endanger the academic instruction at the school.

“Personally, I think the most important thing is to run the school, we should only do other things if they will not affect running the school,” Boland said.

Larry Kelley, Charles Clark and David Boland all agreed that there would be exchange of body fluids during a football game and transmission of the virus could occur.

Coach Goodrich said some teams were using face shields on the helmets, but ordering them now would probably result in a four-to six-week wait for delivery.

The WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) in guidance released last Friday told the state’s school districts they were free to make their own decisions about playing sports this year. However, the WIAA did set up revised schedules and timelines for fall sports that included delayed starts for fall sports and a separate re-scheduled spring season. Football would play seven regular season games and have two post-season games.

During a meeting Tuesday morning, the Six Rivers Conference voted to have volleyball in the fall and football in the spring.

River Ridge Athletic Director Wade Winkers said these votes do not bind any schools to play in that season according to the WIAA changes from last week. Therefore, if a conference stays in fall, a school can still opt to play in the spring; and vice versa.  

“Schools may still elect to go to the spring for volleyball,” said Winkers. “In the same breath, schools could elect to keep football in the fall.”

Winkers said River Ridge is still exploring its options.

The Southwest Wisconsin Conference (SWC) held a meeting to discuss fall sports on Aug. 14. Conference Commissioner Sara Godfrey said no decision was made at that meeting. The next meeting for SWC athletic directors is scheduled for Aug. 26. 

Fall sports will also be a topic of discussion at the Aug. 24 Prairie du Chien School Board meeting.

Wauzeka-Steuben has decided to play sports in the fall with a qualification that they wish to remain in a co-op with Seneca for football. 

The school board is examining the options and will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 26 to select and or hire volleyball coaches and may take action on what to do about football. 

“We are meeting again Aug. 19 with our coaching staff to discuss options,” said Wauzeka-Steuben Athletic Director Mitchell Cernek. “We are committed to keeping our co-op with Seneca in the future. We do not want to see it dissolve or disband. We will weigh options and hope to have an official decision by the middle of next week.”

According to the WIAA, 2020-21 fall sports season start and *end dates are as follows. (*end dates to be determined)

Cross country-boys and girls (Monday, Aug. 17 - Week of Oct. 26*)

Football (Monday, Sept. 7 - Week of Nov. 16*) - Earliest first game is Wednesday, Sept. 23

Girls golf (Monday, Aug. 17 - Week of Oct. 12*)

Boys soccer (Monday, Sept. 7 - Week of Nov. 2*)

Girls volleyball - (Monday, Sept. 7 - Week of Nov. 2*)

The 2020-21 alternate fall sports season start and end dates are as follows.

Boys and girls cross country (Monday, March 15 - Week of May 3*)

Football (Monday, March 8 - Week of May 3*) - Earliest first game is Wednesday, March 24

Girls golf (Monday, March 29 - Week of May 17*)

Boys soccer (Monday, March 22 - Week of May 10*)

Girls volleyball - (Monday, Feb. 22 - Week of April 12*).

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