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Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA)


Southwest Wisconsin's prep football landscape will look vastly different in two seasons.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association on Tuesday approved the realignment of seven football conferences, beginning with the 2019 season, and imposed a one-year moratorium on future realignment requests.

Included in the realignment are the three conferences that include area teams — the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League, the Southwest Wisconsin Conference and the Six Rivers Conference.

The bulk of the seven-team SWAL will stay together in the new generically named eight-team Conference A — with the exception of Boscobel and Southwestern, which will move to the Six Rivers.

Cuba City, Darlington, Fennimore, Iowa-Grant and Mineral Point will be joined in Conference A by La Crosse Aquinas, Onalaska Luther and Lancaster — which will move from the six-team SWC. The league's enrollment will go from a low of 199 (Mineral Point) to a high of 289 (Aquinas).

Former SWC schools Platteville, Prairie du Chien, Dodgeville, Richland Center and River Valley will be joined by Arcadia, Viroqua and Westby in Conference B — which will range in enrollment from 339 (Westby) to 430 (Platteville, River Valley).

The Six Rivers Conference will remain mostly intact while adding Boscobel and Southwestern. Black Hawk remains the conference's smallest school with an enrollment of 99, while Boscobel becomes the largest at 233. The league also includes Benton/Scales Mound, Pecatonica/Argyle, Potosi/Cassville, River Ridge and Shullsburg.

Former Six Rivers teams Belmont and Highland join the revamped Ridge & Valley Conference, which will include nine schools.

With an enrollment of 99, Belmont will be the smallest school in the Ridge & Valley, which includes De Soto, Ithaca, Kickapoo/La Farge, North Crawford, Riverdale, Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca and Wonewoc-Center/Weston. Kickapoo/La Farge has the league's highest enrollment at 234.

The Coulee and South Central conferences will cease to exist for football purposes. Conference C includes eight out-of-area schools and the Mississippi Valley Conference will move from a seven-team league to eight.

During the one-year moratorium, the member schools and executive staff will search for a different process in which to address future conference realignments. Schools will still be able to realign with different conferences during the moratorium, which would need complete support of all schools impacted.

The WIAA's Board of Control at its January meeting issued support for the development of a state-wide football-only conference model to be presented at the Football Coaches Advisory Committee's December meeting. The goal of the plan, which would be similar to Iowa's district football format, is implementation for the 2020 season.

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April 26, 2018


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