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Possible WIAA Schedule Change Concerns Parents | News

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Possible WIAA Schedule Change Concerns Parents
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As many as 60,000 people cheered on young competitors during the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's high school state wrestling tournament this week, but some parents said they were concerned about possible scheduling changes next year.

The tournament, which has been on a Thursday through Saturday for years, may move to weekdays because of scheduling conflicts at the Kohl Center. University of Wisconsin-Madison officials have told WIAA leaders to plan on getting bumped next year, tournament director Wade Labecki said.

"But, as my understanding is, as late as this week, they're discussing (the changes) and there's potential that we could end up back on our Thursday, Friday and Saturday," Labecki said. "So, it'll all take some time, but hopefully it'll work out."

UW scheduling issues have also forced the WIAA to consider moving the basketball tournament to Green Bay, although Labecki said the wrestling event wouldn't move out of Madison.

To limit the number of days student-athletes miss school, officials are considering shortening the wrestling championships to Thursday and Friday next year if the UW forces changes, Labecki said. The WIAA would add two floor mats to speed up matches, he said.

The possible changes concerned some parents, many of whom drive for hours to watch their high school-aged students compete.

"It costs a lot of money to come down here with parking, you're eating out and everything," said Randy Schmidt, whose family drove from Richland Center to watch his son, Logan, take third place in the 285-pound weight class. "Just look at our family here. They can't take two days of work off to get down here."

The Schmidts said they were planning to celebrate Logan's successful season at a local restaurant. Madison tourism officials have said the state basketball tournament, which draws a slightly larger crowd, brings in about $9 million in revenue for area businesses.

Meanwhile, Kathy Benitz waited outside the Kohl Center for her son's championship match to start. She said she wouldn't miss the event, no matter how difficult the schedule made it to attend.

"I don't think it would be (too difficult)," Benitz said. "You've got a bunch of dedicated people who will come here regardless."

Tournament director Labecki said the event was a special one for many parents and student-athletes because it takes place in Madison.

"The challenge to get here is tough enough," Labecki said. "But everybody wants to come down here to Madison to the Kohl Center and wrestle."

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