Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Political Football

These are not good times for the Wisconsin Insterscholastic Athletic Association. The WIAA is under siege from all directions as it tries to foist a very unpopular conference realignment plan on Fox Valley schools, it sues the State Newspaper Association over broadcast fees, and State Legislators try to force it to open up its internal processes.

Obviously, there is zero benefit for FVA teams to get lumped in with schools from the Wisconsin Valley Conference. I especially feel sorry for Kaukauna and Fond du Lac--who will have the longest road trips if the conference merger goes through. If the WIAA wants to flex its muscles on this issue, why don't they just force Rhinelander and Antigo to go back to playing the Wausau and Marshfield schools? Inconvenience just two schools instead of ten.

As for the broadcast fees fight, as much as we in the electronic media hate paying them, we understand that without the WIAA, the playoffs wouldn't actually happen. Can you imagine what it would be like if individual schools tried to organize their own tournaments? If the Newspaper Association believes sports in public facilities should be streamed for free, why aren't their cameras in Camp Randall Stadium, Miller Park and Lambeau Field?

And then there was that bill in the State Legislature that would have required the WIAA to reveal their financial documents and open their meetings to the public--just like bodies of government--or have public schools banned from joining. The only problem is, the WIAA is not a government. It is an independent association to which member schools belong. There is no requirement for schools to belong to the WIAA--but then they don't get to participate in the state tournaments--and they don't get WIAA refs and umpires to work their games. So who really wins in that situation? Kids who don't get to pursue state championships and lose qualified officials?

I'll be the first to admit that the WIAA is not perfect--but it's the best organization that we have right now. Would you prefer the state take over interscholastic athletics? You may as well plan on budget deficits, admssion fees that increase by five percent every year and lawmakers demanding that all kids at all levels go home with big trophies at the end of the year--because that is only "fair".

No comments:

Post a Comment