The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association is under fire after a video surfaced following a WIAA state championship game and trophy presentation March 11.
The video shows a WIAA employee, Associate Director Deb Hauser, ushering away a little boy away as he jumps up and down excitedly awaiting a hug from his sister, who just won the state championship.
The father of the two, Nic Levy, posted the video to Twitter with the caption saying that the boy had always given his sister a hug after her games. He said that when Hauser told his son that he was unable to give his sister a hug, he continued to cry.
Hauser is a veteran of the WIAA, which is located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Here’s what you need to know about Hauser:
1. Hauser & the WIAA Said They Were Following Protocol
About one day after the video made the rounds on Twitter, the WIAA issued a response to the incident and defended the hug breakup. It said that the organization has reached out to the family and regrets it from occurring.
Hauser told Fox 11 News in an email that it’s vital that “all spectators are kept off the playing surface” at WIAA championship events, adding that she was following standard protocol.
It is not possible for us to know the individual traditions and rituals of all the schools, teams, family’s and players involved in the state championships we sponsor and for the safety of all involved, spectators are kept off the playing surface at all of our state championships. We hope that all the teams and players have ample opportunity for hugs and celebrations over a great season following their on-court ceremony.
One day earlier, WIAA Director of Communications Todd Clark said much of the same thing in a statement, WBAY-TV reported. He said the WIAA’s procedures are in place to allow for safety and to ensure events run smoothly.
For the safety of the players, coaches, media and spectators, as well as conducting the award ceremonies in a proficient and efficient manner, the WIAA does its best to keep spectators from entering onto the court at anytime. We encourage players, their families, classmates and others to celebrate and exchange their congratulations, as well as share their joy at the appropriate time after the ceremonies.
2. Hauser Has Been With the WIAA for 24 Years
According to the WIAA’s executive staff members page, Hauser first the organization as its assistant to the director in January 1993. Two years later, she was promoted and her title changed to assistant director. Then in 2002, she was hired to her current role as the associate director and she saw her duties restructured to add additional responsibilities. They included tournament planning, conference realignment and other administrative duties.
Hauser’s current responsibilities at the WIAA include overseeing the administration of various high school sports including basketball, golf, soccer, tennis and swimming. One of her biggest roles, the WIAA says, is being “instrumental” in the state tournament assignments and also in the planning.
During her time with the WIAA, Hauser served as the chair of the Soccer Rules Committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations from 1999-2003.
3. She Has a Deep History In Education
Hauser earned a bachelor’s degree in business education and a minor in coaching from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1978. She graduated from the school after just three years — including summer sessions — and went on to teach at Darlington High School.
At Darlington, Hauser was a business education teacher and spent time coaching numerous sports (basketball, volleyball and track and field). One of her first tasks for the school was to build a girl’s basketball program, and she became the athletics administrator of the district in 1984.
She followed up her undergrad by earning her master’s degree in secondary education from UW-Platteville in 1991 prior to landing the job with the WIAA.
4. Hauser Was Inducted Into Multiple Hall of Fame Groups
In her time as the WIAA’s associate director, Hauser has earned numerous awards and has been inducted into the hall of fame of several organizations.
In 1996, she was inducted UW-Whitewater’s Athletics Hall of Fame after a successful collegiate career playing basketball, field hockey and softball. In her time playing the sports there, she earned five varsity letters.
When she was the athletics director at Darlington in 1988, she was the first female to be selected as the Wisconsin District 5 Athletics Director of the Year.
In 2010, Hauser was inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame alongside former Marquette University coach Al McGuire and former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle as a “friend of basketball.”
In addition, she received the NFHS Citation Award for her contributions to high school athletics in 2007.
5. The WIAA Previously Told High School Students They Couldn’t Make Chants Directed at Opposing Fans
In January 2016, the WIAA made national headlines when an email sent out to students said it’s banning “chants by the student sections directed at opponents and/or opponents’ supporters that are clearly intended to disrespect.” Examples of the “banned” chants included: “Air ball,” “We can’t hear you,” “Scoreboard” and many others. The guidelines were listed in the WIAA’s sportsmanship guide, which has undergone a revision since the ordeal.
The email, which was sent in December 2015, told school administrators, student groups and event managers to take “immediate steps” in correcting the behavior.
Clark defended the WIAA’s stance following the criticism, saying that the rules have been in place for years and the email was simply a reminder to administrators and fans. He said that the WIAA has “never disciplined a school for fan violations of its Sportsmanship Reference Guide policies.”
WIAA Executive Director David Anderson told Fox Sports that he stood by the guidelines and that the story was blown out of proportion. Anderson said that the message of the email was “misconstrued and morphed into something far beyond what it was and what it was intended for.”