You literally can't say two 8-man divisions increases opportunity for kids while also taking away a division of 11-man. It's a wash.
There seems to be this misnomer in Wisconsin that 8-man
the option for all small school numbers struggling with numbers, when it reality it only is supposed to exist as a way to keep the
schools football-viable. There's a reason there's an enrollment cap. If you're a school of 250 there's no reason you can't get 25 boys 9-12 out for football, which is the number I'd consider enough to have a viable 11-man team...if we need to go reduced player at lower levels in the lower divisions then do so, but the varsity end game for all schools not in the sub-200 enrollment zone should be 11-man.
As somebody said above, it does at some point become a cultural thing. Sometimes things happen like they did in Sturgeon Bay this year and you gotta dip down to 8-man for a season or two to protect your kids, but for a school that size the end game should still be 11-man.
Regarding a move to six divisions, I think it's in the cards sooner rather than later. I think the WFCA and WIAA are waiting to see how this first cycle goes for re-alignment/defections to 8-man and then will move from there, and I'd expect something concrete to be in place by the end of the second two-year cycle.
First off I wanted to say that it think they need to keep it at 7 divisions ( for now )along with the 2 division 8 man format. The thing that everyone is forgetting what this is all for and about. This is about the kids, and getting their opportunity to play this game at the high school level. My dad has told me numerous times that when he was in high school his team finished second in their conference in the old cloverbelt. They were a two loss team in the early 80's that didn't qualify for playoffs. So as I can imagine they were a good team that didn't have the opportunity to compete in a playoff game. By keeping 7 divisions your doing a lot of different things in my eyes. Your giving smaller schools incentive to keep 11 man football. Prime example Gilman this year had 18 kids, one of the better programs from the 2000's era this year had every right and justification to say "you know what, we're gonna play 8 man." But they didn't, they stayed in 11 man and made playoffs and had a pretty dam good team. They lost to Edgar who is a D-5-D6 program in D7, and yes I understand its a double edged sword because if there was only 6 divisions Edgar would be in D6 and not D7 but if there was only 6 divisions Gilman would've been the lowest see and playing a school like Regis first round of playoffs. Instead with more teams getting in they got some even match ups and won a couple games before ultimately losing @ Edgar. 2. Yes, by keeping the current format you have teams that aren't great limping into the playoffs just to go on the road to a school like Edgar to play a 1 seed and get beat. But I bet you ever player on that team would still be proud of making the playoffs and having the opportunity to play one extra game in their career. That's the big thing for me that people are forgetting, why not allow these kids on teams to possibly play one more game even if it ends in a blow-out. I do believe that in a few years this argument will be invalid as more and more teams will be dropping to 8 man. It's just the current state of affairs, school enrollment is continuing to drop ans soon it won't just be that schools are dropping to 8 man, but they are dropping completely. It's sad but its a realization we all must come to that once proud programs and schools will be no more. But the re installment of 8-man in Wisconsin has done a beautiful thing, its allowed teams to have their team again. It allows schools to say "no" we're not gonna co-op with our old rival and split home games and change our colors and team name and lose so many of our great traditions. We are going to keep "our" hometown team, play "our" home games in "our town, wear "our" colors and sing "our" fight song. This is why I love 8 man, schools like Winter, Shell Lake, Luck, and now Greenwood and Gilman don't need to co-op and lose any of their luster in being their own team. Lastly the reason I quoted db11 is because of the topic of a cultural thing. (great point btw) I think this is where the state did a great job in putting a 3 year average enrollment cap. Sometimes schools programs die and need to be babied for a while, look at Cadott. Shortly after their coach passed away their program ceased to exist and co-oped with Cornell. When they brought their program back, those kids needed protecting. So they played a JV schedule because there was no way they could trot those kids out there vs Regis and Colby. 8 man is a good way to protect those kids, no they cant qualify for playoffs as we saw with Philips this year, but it's a stepping stone for the program to get back to where they can play 11 man again.
"I could get a T-shirt that says 'All in for Week 4 of the Preseason.' That's not quite as catchy, and I don't have an endorsement deal with an apparel company. Maybe someone will sign me now. I don't make enough money to get fined. Maybe I'll get a deal with some off-brand or something that sells at Walmart or something."