The Badger Conference, which includes Beaver Dam and Watertown in our area, announced on Friday afternoon that they would not be sponsoring a winter sports season. That does not mean that teams seasons are cancelled, as schools are free to schedule non-conference events on their own.
Beaver Dam High School Athletic Director Melissa Gehring told DailyDodge.com via email: “The stakeholders in our Beaver Dam athletic community were prepared for this decision given our pandemic reality. Although we wish we could compete for the coveted Badger Conference awards, we respect the conference decision and we will continue to optimistically plan for winter athletics.”
Watertown High School Athletic Director Jamie Koepp told DailyDodge.com via email: “Watertown is very proud to be a member of the Badger Conference. We recognize that each school has a unique situation and recommendations from health departments are different depending on the city, county and/or geographic location. There is no crystal ball that anyone has to determine the future as it relates to high school athletics. In the meantime, as a conference, we will continue to support each other through the anticipated ebb and flow that may exist for schools and teams throughout the winter season. In a nutshell, safety will remain at the forefront as it has been the entire fall season. We all look forward to the day when high school athletics are available for all schools to once again compete with each other.”
The following statement was released Friday by the Badger Conference
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly posed challenges for planning events of all types throughout our nation, state, and local communities. The goal of the Badger
Conference, first and foremost, continues to be the health and safety of our school district communities. Regardless of the type of event, health and safety must come first.
We have always viewed sports as an important component to the educational process. Participation in sports provides opportunities for developing and cultivating a variety of skills, such as communication, teamwork, discipline, leadership skills and respect for others.
The Badger Conference supports the fact that education-based athletics is a privilege, not a right, which requires an added level of responsibility for those who administer them and serve as a partner in the education of student-athletes.
While we look to guidance from a variety of sources, the ultimate source for school districts and athletics comes from local public health departments. Interestingly, the 16 schools of the Badger Conference must work with their local health department, (the conference spans 7 different counties), each with their own guidelines. This means that plans will vary in different parts of the conference and state, depending on how the virus is spreading in the local area and the guidance from county health departments.
Since all member schools are not able to participate fully in conference contests during the upcoming winter season dates as scheduled, sanctioned Badger Conference competitions will not be held and conference champions will not be named. All schools will be supported in their local decisions and may have the option to schedule non-conference competitions in winter sports, so long as they follow the guidance of the WIAA and local public health officials.
We understand the need to be flexible, adaptable, and use creative thinking as we move forward and appreciate the understanding of our school communities as we continue to work together to navigate the COVID-19 situation. Therefore, we are committed to offering opportunities to our students, assuming it is safe and allowable as determined by public health.
We hope everyone remains safe and healthy. We will be back stronger than ever, when the time is right.
“WE ARE BADGER CONFERENCE STRONG!”
If you have a question about this story or have an idea for a future local sports story, please email Wade Bates at [email protected]