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WIAA approves shot clock, 2 divisions in boys state hockey tournament

The Superior Spartans and Green Bay Notre Dame Academy line up for the National Anthem before their game at the Wisconsin State Hockey Tournament in Madison. (Photo by Morgan Peterson)

STEVENS POINT — The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Control reviewed and approved a number of committee recommendations impacting winter sports, gave initial review and consideration of a newly conceived divisional placement plan for basketball, and made a change to the state hockey tournament.


The WIAA will implement a shot clock for boys and girls basketball starting with the 2019-20 season.

The WIAA Board of Control voted to install a 35-second shot clock for varsity games at its June meeting Thursday in Stevens Point.

It’s the second move to increase the pace and flow of games in recent seasons, following the move from quarters to halves.

That was one of several changes approved by the Board of Control on Thursday. Other developments included:

  • Beginning with the 2017-18 season, teams reaching the basketball state tournaments will be seeded by the coaches of the four qualifying in each of the five divisions. A Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association representative will break any ties.
  • A basketball coaches advisory committee will be convened following the 2017 area meetings to discuss a new model for divisional placement.

In this plan, Division 1 would consist of schools with enrollments of 1,200 or more. Division 2 would be enrollments of 600-1,200. Division 3 would be schools with an enrollment less than 600 that are classified as city or suburban plus town or rural schools with enrollments greater than the Division 4 cutoff. Divisions 4 and 5 each would comprise 128 schools classified as town or rural.

Three other basketball recommendations received approval from the Board.

If schools choose to play only one half of a junior varsity game and a full varsity game, players will be allowed to play in only two halves. Also approved was extending the coaching box to 28 feet from 14 feet for all levels. In addition, the number of players per team allowed to dress during the Tournament Series will increase to 18 while maintaining the maximum party limit of 22.

Boys hockey

The Board supported an amended recommendation for a two-year experiment on sponsoring two divisions in boys hockey beginning with the 2020 state tournament.

The tournament format will feature four teams in Division 1 and four in Division 2 with the smallest 32 programs by enrollment assigned to Division 2.

Another action item in hockey was the approval for seeding the state tournament. The WIAA will conduct a conference call with coaches of qualifying teams to determine the top four seeds, and the remaining four teams will be randomly drawn as opponents of the seeded teams in the brackets.

The guidelines for seeding will replicate those for the regional and sectional levels.


Beginning next season, the team state tournament will be seeded by the coaches of the qualifying teams using the same procedure as the boys hockey state tournament.

Another wrestling recommendation approved for 2017-18 increases the total number of medals awarded to 28 at the state team tournament, which equals the number of eligible athletes.

In other wrestling-related discussions, the Board was informed of a change in the Feb. 1, one-pound growth allowance to take effect on the date of the first regional competition.


The lone gymnastics coaches’ recommendation received approval. It requires the final average score of a routine to be posted during meets throughout the season.

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram contributed to this story.