GREEN BAY -- Officials with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) announced on Thursday, March 12 limited attendance at the remainder of all winter tournament events scheduled March 12-14 and March 19-21.
A news release indicated the guidelines for mass gatherings call for restriction of public events to 50-250 attendees, depending on the event and venue. The coronavirus pandemic created unprecedented circumstances that make these decisions and actions prudent and necessary, officials said.
Officials announced the policy would limit attendance at the state tournament to 88 tickets per team, two supervisors, and a limit of 22 team personnel, with contest officials, timer, scorekeeper, announcer, team host, WIAA staff, WIAA athletic trainers, and Board of Control members deemed essential to the administration of the tournament permitted -- and cheerleaders, pep bands, school photographers, videographers, and on-site sponsors prohibited.
Girls basketball tournament
One of the events taking place Thursday despite coronavirus was the WIAA girls basketball state tournament in Green Bay. Instead, leaders decided to limit the number of guests allowed into the Resch Center. Most of the seats at the center were empty.
"All of us fans are here just to cheer them on and continue with their success," said Kendall Foley, daughter of the coach for the Platteville Hillmen.
Per the new policy, the number of fans had to be limited. Only four immediate family members would be allowed to attend per player.
The WIAA added hygiene reminders on the jumbotron. Also, extra cleaning crews and hand sanitizer were made available.
"I was really nervous," said Candy Lessard, an aunt of one of the athletes.
The undefeated girls' team from Platteville attended their first WIAA tournament since 1984. They worried it would be canceled.
"We've just been talking to them, sitting them down, don't worry about it," Foley said.
But family members showed support no matter what.
"We just kept their spirits high, cheering them on constantly," Foley said.
Officials said refunds would be provided to anyone who bought tickets -- and was unable to attend. Also, officials noted there could be changes made to the girls tournament and the boys tournament March 19-21 in Madison.