Messmer lawsuit against WIAA a shameful example of greed

The lawsuit filed by the Milwaukee Messmer-Shorewood football cooperative against the WIAA to get the co-op team into the WIAA playoffs is an insult to every state football program.
The co-op has become nicknamed “Messwood” and that couldn’t be more fitting.
The Messwood lawyers are attacking some non-specific wording in the WIAA’s football bylaws as their way to wriggle around the WIAA’s intent.
Perhaps a little history is in order. The Messmer-Shorewood cooperative has an enrollment of 1,301 students. The WIAA has a very clear rule about programs that bail out of a conference without WIAA approval. They are ineligible for WIAA playoffs for the following four years.
Messwood jumped out of a Milwaukee conference where they were one of the larger schools because they were getting beat consistently by smaller schools. They found the easiest possible competition, moving into the Midwest Classic – North Conference. Messmer’s enrollment is more than three times larger than the next nearest school in the Midwest Classic.
If this isn’t obscene enough, some of these small schools are still pounding on Messwood. They finished with a 4-4 record this season. Among their losses were setbacks against Lake Country Lutheran and Living Word Lutheran.
Let’s hear it for the Lutherans, because they both took down Messwood. Living Word Lutheran has 193 students, less than one-sixth of the Messwood enrollment, but they still beat the giant, 35-20.
Lake Country Lutheran is even smaller, with 181 students, less than one-seventh of the Messwood enrollment. Lake Country Lutheran still was able to defeat Messwood, 27-20.
We don’t know who is behind this lawsuit, whether it’s egotistical parents, coaches or school administrators. We should feel bad for the Messwood players, who probably didn’t want to get dragged into the middle of this quagmire. In the football playoff projections, Messmer-Shorewood was listed among the smallest schools that would fall into the Division 1 playoffs. If they do end up landing in Division 1, they could end up facing one of the top teams in the state in the opening round of the playoffs. You can bet there wouldn’t be many tears shed around the state if Messwood gets drilled 50-0 or worse in the opening round. The WIAA made the rule on jumping conferences for a reason and it’s a rule that is well-respected. That one school has seen fit to say it is too good for the WIAA rules is a slap in the face to the rest of the high school football programs in the state.

5 thoughts on “Messmer lawsuit against WIAA a shameful example of greed

  1. Dave, maybe the WIAA is wrong?
    The judge ruled it that way. The WIAA football playoff system is a complete sham. They set arbitrary rules – the judge agreed. They send teams any direction they want. It’s a crapshoot every year. My hope is that this finally gets the WIAA to realize that they have bungled this playoff system for the last time.
    Every other sport has a simple, clear playoff system. Football is behind a shroud of secrecy until the WIAA chooses to unveil it.

    • There is no secrecy to how the WIAA football system is set up. Finish .500 or better in your conference and you get in. The Messmer lawyers found a unclearly written part of the WIAA rules and pounced on it. There is nothing wrong with the WIAA football program, ask any other football coach in the state.

  2. One thing you should know is they were told 3 weeks ago that they were in and then last Thursday they said they were out. That is what started this. Explain how that can happen.

  3. Let’s talk about all the private schools in the big cities that consistently knock the small schools out of the play-offs because their enrollment meets the smaller division criteria! Eau Claire REGIS (Recruit Every Guy and Girl In the State) and Wausau Newman are two classic examples. The WIAA needs to take a serious look at bumping these teams up at least a couple divisions or use the population from which they are located to determine their division. This will make them more competitive within their appropriate division and give some of these small public schools a fighting chance to make it through Regionals! Take a look at the state qualifiers in the last several years – the percentage of private schools that reach this level in the smaller divisions is diproportionate based on the private to public school ratio. How about at least putting them all within the same regional bracket so only one can advance to the next level? Better yet – go back to the old days when they had their very own league and State Tournament. Let them beat up on each other rather than stacking their teams to gain an unfair advantage over our small public schools.

    • I agree. The WIAA has been afraid to take on the issue of private schools for the same reason they didn’t want to deal with Messmer-Shorewood. If the private schools don’t get what they want, the trot out big money lawyers to sue the WIAA.

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