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Madison Memorial quarterback Jason Ceniti (12) leads applause thanking the team's fans following host Memorial's 32-26 season-opening Big Eight Conference win over Sun Prairie on Aug. 17.

The WIAA Board of Control approved the statewide football-only conference realignment plan at its meeting Tuesday on the eve of the annual meeting. 

The plan is for the 2020 season.

The WIAA annual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Stevens Point.

The WIAA sent out an announcement on Twitter: “The statewide Football-only Conference Realignment plan is unanimously approved by the Board of Control on its final consideration, VOTE 9-0. The plan will go into effect for the 2020 season.”

The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association has been working on the football-only conference realignment since 2017, in conjunction with the WIAA.

The initial conference breakdowns were released last summer. In February, the WFCA released an updated listing of its proposed statewide football-only conference realignment plan.

The release came after a meeting with WIAA leadership. Several minor tweaks to the original alignment plan were considered at the request of participating schools and some were approved.

Area conferences have been detailed previously in the State Journal. The Big Eight Conference, for instance, will see Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker move to the Badger.

Under the plan, 49 conferences would be created for football only, according to a previous State Journal story. Of that list, 33 conferences would have eight teams, playing seven conference games in Weeks 3 through 9 of the regular season. Sixteen conferences would have seven teams, and would play one crossover game against a school from a neighboring seven-team conference to fill what would be a conference bye week.

In all instances, the first two weeks of the season would be reserved for non-conference games of each individual school’s choosing.

The proposal was made to create conferences of the same size across the state, instead of the arrangements now that range from 10-school conferences to five-school leagues. Teams must have a .500 conference record or better to qualify for postseason play. While making the changes, the committee also was able to entertain requests for alignment changes based on competitive balance.

A review of the conferences then is scheduled to be available every two years. 

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.