Wisconsin school district files lawsuit over realignment

July 26, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
A southeastern Wisconsin school district has filed a lawsuit against the state athletic association, claiming a new realignment plan is bad for its football programs and risks the safety of student-athletes.

FootballHandWauwatosa East High School was seeking relief from the Greater Metro Conference, where it faced off against bigger schools with more successful football programs. Instead, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (WIAA) realignment plan keeps East in same conference. On top of that, the WIAA moved the district’s second high school, Wauwatosa West, into the same conference.


“Tell me another realignment that’s taken place where a district that asked for relief actually got put in a worse position, which east and west both did clearly,” Wauwatosa Schools Superintendent Dr. Phil Ertl said.

WISN 12 News contacted the WIAA about Tosa’s lawsuit. Its executive director said: “We acknowledge realignment can be an emotional issue. After considering several plans and providing numerous opportunities for schools impacted to engage in the discussion, we believe the board acted within the scope of their authority.”

“This is a very emotional topic. It’s very important to kids,” Wauwatosa West Athletic Director Jeff Gabrielsen said. “When you have a team that’s got 150 kids out for football, compared to a team that’s got 33 kids out for football, you’re going to have issues there.”

School officials worry about the safety of students and the future of the football program in a powerhouse conference. Constantly losing could further diminish the district’s participation numbers.

The district has asked a judge to halt the realignment, which is set to go into effect beginning with the 2017-18 season.

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