WIAA board expresses support for football plan

The proposed football-only conference realignment plan received initial support by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control at its March 1 meeting, according to a release from the WIAA.

The plan would take effect in 2020 and move Port Washington and Grafton out of the North Shore into separate conferences.

The plan was concocted by an ad hoc committee of WIAA executive staff members and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Executive Board to address input from members schools.

Plan objectives include having the same number of teams in each conference and ensuring schools play enough conference games to qualify for the playoffs, according to the release.

Port Washington would become the southernmost team in the East Central Conference.

With 767 students, Port would be the second largest school of the eight-team league. Plymouth has 784. Kettle Moraine Lutheran replaced Winneconne since July and is the smallest with 450.

The conference also includes Berlin, 67 miles and a 97-minute drive away from Port High, and Ripon — ­75 miles, 87 minutes away — along with Kewaskum, Waupun and Sheboygan Falls.

Grafton faces less travel than Port with a proposed move to the Woodland East Conference. Most schools are about 25 to 35 minutes to the south, including Greenfield, South Milwaukee, Greendale, Whitnall, Wisconsin Lutheran, Cudahy and Shorewood/Messmer.

School sizes range from Shorewood/Messmer’s 1,378 to Cudahy’s 721 students. Grafton, with 745, would still be on the small side but closer to its foes than the teams it currently faces in the North Shore Conference, eight of which eclipse 1,000 students.

If the proposal goes through, the Pirates and Black Hawks would lose 10-minute drives to games and the rivalries with each other and Cedarburg.

But Port and Grafton would be in eight-team conferences, unlike the 10-team North Shore. That allows for two nonconference games.

The Big East Conference, which includes Cedar Grove-Belgium and Ozaukee, would drop from nine to eight teams. Mishicot would move to the small school league of the M-O/Northern Lakes/Packerland Conference.

Schools have until April 10 to file an appeal of the initial vote.

The Board of Control may give final approval of the plan at its April 16 meeting.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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