New football-only conference

The plan is for high school football to get underway in early August as originally scheduled.

That news was shared by Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Deputy Director Wade Labecki last week during an interview with NBC 26.

“We’re planning on football Aug. 4 ...,” Labecki said in the interview with NBC’s Brandon Kinnard. “Now, the experts in the medical area may change our options; they’re the experts in that.”

He added, “We’re not going to go ahead and put kids in jeopardy or coaches in jeopardy or officials in jeopardy. We’re going to do what’s best based on advice from our sports medical people.”

Assuming football is able to begin practicing Aug. 4, and that the season goes on as scheduled, the Ripon High School football team will have two new opponents to get itself ready to face.

This year will mark the first year that a new football-only conference realignment plan goes into affect. The proposal was passed by the WIAA Board of Control unanimously at an April 2019 meeting.

As part of the change, Ripon will bid farewell to Winneconne and Campbellsport and welcome Port Washington and Sheboygan Falls into the East Central Conference.

According to the WIAA at the time the plan was first released, the objective of the plan was to form a football-only conference model that brings uniformity to the number of schools affiliated with a conference and the number of conference games played by each team.

A 2018 release added this came after the board of control and executive staff “encountered persistent and growing sentiments from member schools throughout the state requesting relief for football.”

Jonathan Bailey has been covering sports and general news assignments for the Ripon Commonwealth Press since 2011. He is a former reporter for The Green Laker, a summer publication produced by the Ripon Commonwealth Press, and now is its editor.

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