Many of Waunakee’s high school student-athletes waited in nervous anticipation for the Waunakee school board meeting on November 9th. The board members decided the future of the 2020-21 winter sports seasons. After much discussion that continued through the late Monday night, the board members finally voted.
First, the board members decided on the fate of the seasons of low-risk sports, like ski and snowboard, boys swim, and gymnastics. At the time, as Dane County health guidelines could be followed in practices and competitions, the board came to an agreement that these three sports could begin their seasons. Now, Dane County has banned all indoor gatherings, so it’s unclear how this new ban will affect boys swim and gymnastics. In addition, outdoor gatherings are capped at ten people. Again, it’s unclear how this new restriction will affect Waunakee ski and snowboard.
After voting on low-risk sports, the board went on to discuss medium-risk and high-risk sports. With much questioning and debating, the board compromised on a vote with multiple amendments. Basically, medium-risk and high-risk sports, such as boys and girls basketball, boys and girls hockey, and wrestling, can practice, following social distancing and mask-wearing rules and guidelines. However, student-athletes involved in these sports cannot compete. A tentative date was set for competition to begin in mid-January, although the date can be pushed back if the board deems competition unsafe at that point.
A student-athlete can be ruled ineligible for WIAA events if that student-athlete competes outside of WIAA sponsored competition during the student-athlete’s high school season. As a result, some Waunakee coaches have opted to delay the start of practice, thus delaying the start of the season. That way, if a student-athlete chooses to participate in competition not affiliated with Waunakee High School at this time, the student-athlete will be eligible to participate in WIAA events once the Waunakee school board allows competition and the coach begins practices.