By Michael S. Hoey


A long-standing WIAA enrollment rule forced Big Foot/Williams Bay and Delavan-Darien wrestlers to compete in Division 1 instead of Division 2 in the WIAA postseason that began on Feb. 15. Big Foot/Williams Bay has the smallest enrollment in the division; Delavan-Darien, the second smallest.

The rule involves participation of the schools in Walworth County Education Consortium’s Alternative High School, which is based in Elkhorn.

The total enrollment from DDHS, Elkhorn, Lake Geneva Badger, Big Foot and Williams Bay was recorded as 42 students at WCEC, so even though Delavan-Darien only sent two students to the school, 42 counted toward its enrollment last year.

“Overall, very disappointing and frustrating,” District Administrator Jill Sorbie said of the situation.

DDHS ended its contract with WCEC and currently provides similar services at its own high school. Sorbie wrote a letter to the WIAA making the case for DDHS.

Deputy Director Wade Labecki said the WIAA has been using the previous year’s enrollment to determine division placement in its tournaments and counting the entire enrollment of associate members of schools – such as alternative schools – for years.

“This is not new,” Labecki said. “Some people are now aware of it.”

Labecki said the entire enrollment of an alternative school is counted because the high schools that send students there are considered “associate” members.

Double whammy

Big Foot-Williams Bay got hit harder than Delavan-Darien because an additional 42 students were added to each school’s enrollment as a result, or 84 toward their co-op numbers.

Big Foot District Administrator Doug Parker said Big Foot is no longer a part of the alternative school consortium, so the issue should not be a concern for next year.

He also said Big Foot was aware winter sports assignments are done in the spring but no indication was given that enrollment in the alternative school would be included and specific numbers only included football at that time.

“The WIAA does not publish enrollment numbers with the (tournament) assignments,” Parker said.

“We trusted them to get it right,” he added. “No where were we made privy to the fact that they added 42 kids to our enrollment.”

Read the full story in the Feb. 20 Delavan Enterprise and Feb. 21 Walworth Times or Sharon Reporter.


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