Numerous motions passed through second readings during the Wyoming High School Activities Association Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, but the vast majority of the state’s attention will remain on impending impactful decisions as the board continues to gather for future meetings.
Most notably, the preliminary conversations during the summer to gauge interest in a 9-man classification for football were discussed further on Tuesday.
This football season has already brought more forfeits than any board member could ever remember and as far back as records of such things have been kept. The WHSAA sent surveys out in the summer to member schools about interest in the possible implementation of a 9-man classification. With no formal motion, the discussed idea would involve keeping 6-man, converting Class 1A/11-man to a 9-man classification and giving teams the option of moving up to Class 2A for 11-man competition.
As discussed on Tuesday, 33 out of 43 schools scattered across three classifications returned those surveys.
Out of the 16 teams in Class 1A/6-man, 12 of them returned surveys stating they would stay in 6-man while three stated they would seek play in a 9-man classification. Out of the current Class 1A/11-man teams surveyed, six said they would play in 9-man while five would opt to play in Class 2A. And just one current 2A team surveyed said it would have interest in playing 9-man.
That could pose scheduling issues for 9-man teams in the future. They’d either only play within classification, play South Dakota high schools or play junior varsity teams of much larger classifications. It could, however, cut down on the unprecedented number of forfeits this season. Rock River, Saratoga and Ten Sleep have all forfeited their varsity seasons while Midwest and Rocky Mountain both forfeited games last weekend.
The board also discussed a new tiebreaker rule change for football that would use point differential games against each other after using a head-to-head tiebreaker. The hope is to limit coin tosses and allow on-the-field competition to determine seeding or playoff qualification. Margin of victory in games between all three teams in question would be added together and whoever held the most points among the three would earn the top seed. That motion, which would be installed for the 2019 season at the earliest, passed unanimously upon first read. It requires another read before ratification.
But more than just football was discussed on Tuesday. First-read motions that would potentially shift scheduling for both state volleyball and state track meets to just two days were handily defeated. Both motions were sponsored by the state superintendent group. In an effort to cut down on time out of class, the motions would begin competition late enough in the day to have teams leave that morning or after school the day before in order to compete.
“Not only students, but teachers miss class time,” Mike Hamel, superintendent of Carbon County School District No. 1 said. “Leaving before school is out a day before state is off the table.”
The motion to alter state volleyball failed 12-4 while the one to condense state track failed 14-2.
The board of directors did pass rulebook items for second reads, thereby clearing way for their ratification. A new rule limiting speech competition to just 10 meets passed. Wording to change the host site to state Nordic skiing was cleared to change from school to city, so that Casper would not host twice in a cycle, unanimously. The board also approved a motion that would limit soccer rosters to 22 players for tournaments — and it would be the same 22 players.
In minor unanimous movement, the board cleared gold card requests for former Kelly Walsh principal Brad Diller and former Natrona County activities director Larry Meeboer. Both were cornerstones of athletics for their respective schools and have remained active members in athletics in the months since retiring.
Mountain View High School received clearance to being a soccer program. Just like nearby Lyman, Mountain View will be required to start with a junior varsity exclusive program for the first two years.
The board also discussed contingency for Class 4A/3A state basketball. Last season’s Region IX tournament at Casper College altered the original schedule and moved some Class 4A games to Kelly Walsh. Some of those games included Kelly Walsh, with which visiting fans took exception. While no motion was made, the board tabled discussion after stating Natrona County and Kelly Walsh will play at opposite sites if needed in the future.
And since the recent reclassification gives the possibility for the two teams to play each other in the first round, the higher seed would host that playoff game.