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This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

The WIAA screws Milwaukee...AGAIN!


Since 1965 when I helped my dad take tickets at Milwaukee South Stadium for huge high school football crowds, I’ve been involved in MPS football and other sports, including working on the football chain crew, doing basketball and soccer scoring, timing, and announcing, and my pride of joy, being the voice of historic South Stadium since 1977.

In my 46 years of high school athletics, I have known numerous superintendents, school board members, athletics department commissioners, athletic directors, coaches and assistant coaches. Many, many, many of them have shared with me over the years off the record their firm belief that the overseer of high school sports in Wisconsin, the WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association) headquartered in Stevens Point for the longest time has had a strong bias against Milwaukee and Milwaukee-area teams. I agree.

What transpired Tuesday is a perfect example.

Actually, we go back to Monday. While the entire state sat waiting in the background, a Milwaukee County judge was considering whether a combination of a Milwaukee private and public schools should be allowed in the playoffs. Until the judge ruled, the playoff announcements showing who would play who, when and where were put on hold, leaving thousands of interested parties from school superintendents right down to fans in limbo.

I, for one,  wanted an update from the WIAA website, but got nothing because you were unable to gain access. The site crashed for hours, leaving tons of high school football fans frustrated. The WIAA could care less. I hate to use an analogy referring to Germany in WWII, but it's been mentioned the WIAA has that reputation.

At issue in a Milwaukee courtroom this week was whether Milwaukee Messmer/Shorewood, a conglomeration of two mediocre programs, was eligible for post-season play. The all-too stringent WIAA said no.

Follow along carefully.

Messmer/Shorewood
left the Woodland Conference after the 2007 season to play an independent schedule. A rule in the WIAA playoff selection criteria states that teams that voluntarily withdraw from a conference shall be ineligible for playoff consideration for the next four years.

Messmer/Shorewood argued the rule no longer applies because the football program is now a member of a conference.

The team finished the regular season 4-4 overall and 4-2 in the Midwest Classic North Division after a 48-21 victory over Wayland. Under current WIAA rules, that would have allowed Messmer/Shorewood a playoff spot. However, there was that entire 4-year provision.

So, the matter went to court.

The “Rules are rules” crowd would stomp and scream, “Rules are rules,” and that Messmer /Shorewood needed to sit out this playoff season.

I don’t subscribe to that theory, especially when a rule is a stupid rule, and this one is.

Establishing an arbitrary rule that a team cannot play in the playoffs for four years after simply leaving a conference, for whatever reason, means that a freshman class is guaranteed that that school’s team, no matter its accomplishments on the field of competition, will never see the playoffs. It’s too strict. If considered a punishment for the innocuous action of leaving a conference, that’s too heavy a penalty, only to solidify the WIAA’s reputation of being excessively heavy-handed.

The judge in Milwaukee County ruled in favor of Messmer/Shorewood. In my view, it was the correct decision. Messmer/Shorewood had proved on the field they had met the WIAA’s competitive criteria, even though they had not met the paperwork criteria of staying out of the playoffs for an excessive four years.

As one who has observed the WIAA run rough shod over Milwaukee teams, I was happy to see the WIAA lose in court. However, the WIAA has great disdain for Milwaukee, and Milwaukee-area high school sports people are well aware. Following the court ruling, the WIAA went back to work, and even though they will deny it to any courageous reporter that would dare raise the question, they returned to their closed room playoff seeding meeting and unleased their wrath upon the state’s largest city.

You want to take us to court, Messmer/Shorewood? And you won? Guess what? We’re making you play Milwaukee Riverside! That’s right. Riverside! The team that can score 70 points, and wants to score 70 points, and has no qualms about sportsmanship or burying your face in it.

But we’re not going to stop there. Oh, no!

In Division 1 the WIAA in its infinite wisdom is sending Milwaukee Madison (4-5) on the road to play at #1 seed Manitowoc Lincoln (9-0) . Throughout the seeding process, the WIAA attempts to put schools in opening round games that are located relatively close to one another. Apparently not so in this matchup. Wonder how many Milwaukee Madison fans will board a bus to make the trip to see their team pummeled in Manitowoc? Try less than not many. There's more on that selection from the Manitowoc Herald Times:

At 1:11 p.m. on Tuesday, a mass email from the WIAA indicated that Manitowoc Lincoln's undefeated football team would be matched up against 7-2 Germantown for its first-round playoff game this weekend.

By 2:45, the Ships' opponent had changed. No. 1 seed Lincoln (9-0) will now host unseeded Milwaukee Madison/NW/Career & Tech (4-5) on Friday at 7 p.m.

"We questioned the WIAA about it, and they changed it," said Ships head coach John Dixon about his team's initial draw. "We want to be clear that we're not trying to avoid playing Germantown, and we certainly realize that game will probably come to fruition anyway. But as a No. 1 seed, we didn't feel the WIAA was respecting that seed. Our kids have worked very hard and deserve that respect. We questioned it. We didn't go to court or anything, but we questioned it based on the established criteria for a No. 1 seed, which is that it should play the unseeded team within close proximity in the first round."

T
his will be a repeat of last year's first-round game, in which the Ships took a 28-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 42-6 victory.

It continues.

Milwaukee Rufus King (7-2) has an identical record to powerhouse Mequon Homestead (7-2). The WIAA’s ruling? The game will be played at Homestead.

You want more? I got more.

Milwaukee Pulaski, though not a good team, managed to make the playoffs for the first time in decades. Their reward? Play the #1 seed Kenosha Bradford at Kenosha Bradford. With no disrespect, just a total dose of reality, bye bye Pulaski.

Milwaukee Washington must play at talented Muskego. Goodnight Washington.

Milwaukee Hamilton must play at Brookfield Central. Hamilton, it’s over.

Milwaukee Bradley Tech is a higher seed than Whitefish Bay, but the consensus is Whitefish Bay should win easily (I’ll be the PA announcer at that game Friday night at Milwaukee South Stadium).

Let’s forget MPS schools. Franklin plays Marquette. Both teams enter with a record of 7-2. Franklin beat Marquette this year in a non-conference game. Doesn’t matter to the hard noses at the WIAA. Because Franklin had one more conference loss than Marquette, Marquette gets the home field.

It’s painfully obvious. The WIAA wants the Appleton West’s and Oshkosh North’s of the world to be in the final games. They’d prefer that busloads of city of Milwaukee fans not make the trip to Camp Randall.

That’s pretty assured these next few weeks.

Sorry, WIAA. Basketball season is just down the road. Payback is...

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