Sun Prairie's Jayda Jansen (12) drives on the defense of Madison East's Erin Howard (23) during the second half of Sun Prairie's 54-47 Big Eight Conference win at Madison East High School in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL


This is not about 15 minutes of fame. Rather, it’s about a time frame of 15 minutes.

That might not seem like much or any big deal in our fast-paced society. 

But two area conferences made adjustments to their high school boys and girls basketball schedules this season because they thought every minute counted.

The Badger Conference, which added Beaver Dam to the Badger North and Watertown to the Badger South this school year, moved its varsity basketball games to 7:15 p.m. from 7:30 p.m., which some other conferences have done in recent years (there could be some exceptions that start at 7:30 p.m.). Junior varsity games typically begin at 5:45 or 5:50 p.m.

The change was made entering this season to accommodate travel for the teams with the addition of the new schools and the 15-minute warm-up between the junior varsity and varsity games, said Mel Dow, the athletic director at Stoughton, which plays in the Badger South. The idea was the league wanted its teams to get back on the road earlier in the middle of the week, Dow said.

The Big Eight Conference, meanwhile, kept its varsity games at 7:30 p.m. (after discussion to move the start time to 7:15 p.m.), but shifted its junior varsity games from 5:45 to 6 p.m.

Middleton athletic director Bob Joers said the change was made to narrow the gap (and wait time) between the end of the junior varsity games and the start of the varsity contests.

It is still too early in the season to determine exactly how these arrangements are working out, but there have been instances when a long Big Eight junior varsity game results in the varsity game beginning considerably later than 7:30 p.m., because the warm-up time still is necessary.

So, in those examples, the varsity game is starting at 8 p.m. or later.

Madison Memorial athletic director Jeremy Schlitz said earlier this week he hadn’t received any direct feedback about this topic and hadn’t had any games start late yet.

Schlitz outlined the rationale: Narrow the time gap between games; keep the gymnasiums available longer for practice time prior to teams being displaced by events; and allow officials, parents and other spectators time to come from work and be able to attend the junior varsity and freshman games.

He said as some schools have moved to later dismissal times, the later start time for the junior varsity games will create relief so the gyms can be used for practices beforehand. He also said schools don’t want to start the varsity games prior to published times, which would affect attendance and radio broadcasts.

He indicated the move to start the junior varsity games later made sense because the games now usually were shorter since the change to halves and the warm-up time was reduced to 15 minutes.

This won’t be significant unless a trend develops where Big Eight varsity games constantly start a half hour or more late. That will annoy spectators (and, yes, media on deadline), frustrate school personnel who have to clean and close the building and certainly not help student-athletes who will get home late on a school night.

Joers said he believes the issue will be revisited. Schlitz said he believed the subject would be discussed by Big Eight officials at its meeting Wednesday — if it’s found to have been a concern.


Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.