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WIAA approves football-only conference realignment plan for 2020
Lancaster moving to SWAL for football
Lancaster and Fennimore will be permanent conference rivals for football moving forward after the WIAA approved the statewide football-only conference realignment plan that will begin in 2020.

STEVENS POINT — The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control passed a statewide football-only conference realignment proposal and supported a raise in ticket prices for Sectional and State Tournaments at its April meeting last week.

The Board unanimously approved its final consideration of the football-only conference proposal crafted by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association. First approval of the plan was granted by the Board with a 9–2 vote at its meeting in March. 

Membership rules required a 40-day window for schools involved in realignment plans to appeal the first consideration of the board before it took final action today. Fifteen schools filed concerns or appeals of the initial vote by the April 10 deadline and were presented to the Board.

The plan, which will be implemented in the 2020 season, gives uniformity to the number of schools affiliated with a conference and makes certain programs have enough conference games for playoff qualification.

“As I indicated when the Board gave it’s initial support of the plan, this was an enormous undertaking and a groundbreaking venture for the WIAA,” said Executive Director Dave Anderson. “This was a good-faith effort, and there was openness to alternative ideas, ‘big-picture’ thinking, and widespread acceptance of the final decision.  It’s also important to convey that at any time there is 100 percent agreement of all impacted members, relief can be fast-tracked.”

In the future, football-only realignment will follow the conference realignment procedures approved by the board at its meeting in January.

Beginning in 2020, the Southwest Wisconsin Conference will be comprised of Platteville (430 enrollment), River Valley (430), Dodgeville (421), Richland Center (386), Prairie du Chien (365) and league newcomers Brodhead/Juda (413) and New Glaurus/Monticello (360).

Lancaster (270) will leave the SWC to join Fennimore (238), Cuba City (238), Darlington (207), Mineral Point (199), Orfordville Parkview/Albany (332) and Belleville (283) in the SWAL.

Iowa–Grant (172) will leave the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League to join the new-look seven-team Six Rivers Conference, along with Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg (266), Pecatonica/Argyle (216), Potosi/Cassville (192), River Ridge (171), Southwestern (167) and Black Hawk/Warren (160).

Belmont has opted to play 8-player football going forward.

Weeks 1 and 2 will be reserved for non-conference play, with the final seven weeks of the regular season for conference play.

Members of the Six Rivers and SWAL will play six conference games and one crossover game that will not could toward conference standings, but will count toward playoff eligibility.

Members of the SWC will play six conference games and one non-conference crossover against a team from the South Central Conference that will count toward playoff eligibility.

This fall teams in Southwest Wisconsin will play a one-year schedule of rearranged conferences, a plan that was passed a year before the WIAA’s statewide football-only conference was approved last week. 

Platteville, Dodgeville, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center and River Valley will be joined in the SWC by Arcadia, Westby and Viroqua for the 2019 season.

Iowa–Grant will play one final year in the SWAL this fall along with Cuba City, Darlington, Fennimore, Lancaster, Mineral Point, Onalaska Luther and La Crosse Aquinas.

The Six Rivers Conference will consist of Potosi/Cassville, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, Black Hawk/Warren, River Ridge, Boscobel and Southwestern for 2019 only.