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After WIAA meeting, Sun Prairie reiterates stance upholding Big Eight Conference decision

After WIAA meeting, Sun Prairie reiterates stance upholding Big Eight Conference decision

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Prep football photo: Sun Prairie quarterback Brady Stevens on the run

Sun Prairie quarterback Brady Stevens, trying to elude pressure from Verona's Keegan Lindell during a game earlier this season, leads the Cardinals' balanced offensive attack. 

Thursday’s WIAA Board of Control decision to hold fall sports but to delay the start of the season didn’t affect the Big Eight Conference athletic directors’ decision made Tuesday to not hold conference competitions or crown league champions in the fall.

Sun Prairie athletic director Eric Nee contacted Sun Prairie families following the Board of Control’s meeting.

The email letter from Nee, which he forwarded to the State Journal, indicated that the WIAA decision didn’t affect decisions about the fall made by Sun Prairie or the Big Eight.

“The Sun Prairie Area School District will not be offering fall virtual coaching nor any in-person athletics during the time of distance learning,” the release said. “We will look to provide opportunities in the spring through whatever means are available based on WIAA guidance for fall sports and reflective of our instructional delivery model and public health guidance.”

eric nee mug 6-18

Nee 

The Madison school district (Madison East, Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Madison West) is scheduled to release its official announcement about fall sports Wednesday. 

The full release from Nee:

“I hope this email finds you and your family doing well. On Monday, July 20, the school district communicated to families that first-quarter instruction during the 2020-21 school year will be delivered via distance learning (September 8 - November 2). The district will continue to work with Public Health Madison & Dane County to monitor countywide health metrics and to engage with staff and parents to determine our best option for the second quarter and second semester.

“The school district anticipates that small groups of students will begin accessing in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so, and we commit to bringing all students back on-site when we feel that is a responsible and safe decision. Sun Prairie Athletics takes pride in its connection to academics. Athletic decisions must be aligned with our academic decisions.

“The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) met on Thursday, July 23, to discuss what athletics would look like this fall and throughout the year in the state of Wisconsin. The WIAA passed a motion 8-3 that girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and diving and boys and girls cross country would start August 17. Football, boys and girls volleyball, and boys soccer would start the week of September 7.

“The WIAA will also work on opportunities for schools and conferences that cannot play sports in the fall. The WIAA board of control is scheduled to meet on August 14 and we hope to have more information on what these opportunities will look like following this meeting.

“The WIAA decision around fall athletic start dates does not affect Big Eight or Sun Prairie Area School District’s “fall” decisions. The Sun Prairie Area School District will not be offering fall virtual coaching nor any in-person athletics during the time of distance learning. We will look to provide opportunities in the spring through whatever means are available based on WIAA guidance for fall sports and reflective of our instructional delivery model and public health guidance.

“Throughout this process we have followed Public Health Madison & Dane County guidelines. We will continue to look for ways to connect with our students outside of sport-specific training. As the WIAA works through a plan, the athletic office will continue to work with the WIAA and Big Eight Conference to provide any feedback we can. Once we have a better understanding of what the WIAA plan looks like, we will reach out to our families to provide an update.

"I, along with my staff, understand the importance athletics and activities play in a student's health. We are committed to our students and to providing them with relevant, engaging, and innovative experiences in and out of the classroom.

“Our entire staff is dedicated to building connections with our students and preparing them for the future. I know the past few months have been extremely challenging for our students, families, coaches, and community but please know I appreciate the patience everyone has shown as we navigate this path.”

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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.

Related to this story

The door was left open for potential spring options for schools and conferences, such as several schools in the Big Eight, that likely cannot play in the fall. Meanwhile, girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and diving and boys and girls cross country will begin practices Aug. 17; football, boys soccer and girls and boys volleyball Sept. 7. 

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