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Badger Conf. opts against summer play
Rock Valley also decides against playing; Capitol leaves it up to schools
mhs baseball
Monroe High School baseball field. - photo by Adam Krebs

MONROE — The Badger Conference will not hold a spring sports session in July or August, the league announced in a statement May 14. Administrators, principals and athletic directors made the joint decision.

“Again, we express our sadness for our student-athletes and coaches, who have worked so hard in preparation of the season,” said Milton’s Brian Hammil, president of the Badger Conference Athletic Directors in a statement. “This decision will allow closure for our seniors and we wish them the best of luck moving forward.”

After canceling the 2020 spring season in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the WIAA allowed a glimmer of hope for potential activity in the summer, waving the 5-day contact period for spring sports and allowing 30 days of contact beginning July 1. The WIAA would not sanction any activity or games, but would not punish teams for practicing or playing.

“The Badger Conference will also continue to support all of our student-athletes and coaches through the end of the school year. We hope everyone remains safe and healthy. We will be back stronger than ever, when the time is right,” Hammil said.

Monroe Athletic Director Jeff Newcomer said that the decision had 100% support from all athletic directors, principals and superintendents from the conference.

“We didn’t find a single conference in the state that actually supports it,” Newcomer said.

Newcomer said Monroe will not participate in any school-sanctioned summer activity. With the state’s order to shutter use of school facilities through the end of June, it also means that the high school summer basketball league and any track meets or baseball games could not use the high school facilities. However, the Monroe high school summer softball league is run through the Parks and Recreation Department, with games played at Twining Park, a property owned by the city and not the school district.

Monroe, a member of the Badger Conference, joins Brodhead in not having any sort of conference play for track, golf, baseball, softball or tennis during the summer. Brodhead’s conference, the Rock Valley, announced in late April it would not be taking advantage of the potential summer session. Other schools in the Rock Valley include Clinton, Big Foot, Beloit Turner, Jefferson, McFarland, Whitewater, Edgerton, Evansville and East Troy.

Other school authorities also had blocked the opening. The Madison School District and the Big Eight Conference announced in late April it was nixing school athletic activities in the summer. 

“The School District of Janesville will not be offering the unrestricted spring contact summer option,” assistant superintendent Scott Garner said in a press release. “Regular WIAA allowed non-school contact is not affected by this decision, and we await further guidance from WIAA with respect to plans to proceed with and/or potentially modify fall sports programs.”

The Capitol Conference, which includes New Glarus and Belleville, decided to leave summer participation up to the schools. 

The Southwest Wisconsin Conference should have a decision by June 1.