WIAA needs 1.65 multiplier to provide sports equity

While pundits from all of Wisconsin’s metro areas are arguing against the proposal, the plan to add a 1.65 multiplier to the enrollment of private schools for WIAA sports events is badly needed to bring equity to the Wisconsin high school playing field.
The WIAA member schools are scheduled to vote on the 1.65 multiplier proposal at the WIAA annual meeting in Stevens Point on Wednesday.
It has been clear that since WISAA stopped holding private school state tournaments, an inordinate number of private schools have been qualifying for WIAA state tournaments. The percentages simply show that the private schools, which can draw from districts outside of their base geographic area, while public schools can’t, hold an unfair advantage over the public schools.
Is the 1.65 multiplier the perfect solution? Maybe not, but it is a start to the badly needed equity that is needed in Wisconsin high school sports.
The inequity is noticeable in sports like football and basketball, where the private schools have prominent teams which make state tournaments every year. In several sectionals around the state, it is nearly impossible for public schools to have a prayer of reaching the state tournament because their hopes are choked by several top private schools within their sectional bracket.
Some of the smaller sports see even more of an inequity. Use boys golf as an example. In Division 2 competition in 2013, two of the top four teams in the state were from private schools. In 2012, private schools filled three of the top four places in the state tournament.
The best solution would be having private schools going back to holding their own state tournament, which they did for decades. With the strong financial backing that private schools possess, that likely won’t happen. And if the multiplier does get approved this week, it will likely face a prolonged court battle from those backing private school athletics.
The multiplier is needed, to begin the fight for equity in Wisconsin high school sports. The WIAA is supposed to provide equal opportunity. In this instance, it clearly does not.