Iowa Fall Sports Guidance Revealed

July 30, 2020 11:19am

Boys Girls Unions Fall300

High School football games in Iowa will last a bit longer this fall after the Iowa High School Athletic Association released their official fall sports guidance on Wednesday as did the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

While many of the safety protocols for fall sports are similar to the baseball and softball protocols this summer, one of the more notable changes on the gridiron will be the addition of required official timeouts in order for teams to “properly” re-sanitize and hydrate. These timeouts will be taken after every four minutes on the game clock. Additionally, the break between quarters will be lengthened to two minutes for the same purposes.

Fans will also notice players spread out farther along the sidelines. The IHSAA has expanded the player box to the 10 yard line on each end which will provide 30 extra yards for players to social distance as much as possible while not in the game. The coaches box, however, will remain the same, running from 25 to 25.

The IHSAA is also recommending, but not requiring a new football be brought into play before every fourth down and that players cover as much bare skin as possible with long sleeved dry weave shirts and tights.

Players are encouraged but not required to wear masks when possible in all fall sports which also includes Volleyball, Cross County, Swimming & Diving and Class 4A Boys Golf. Mask wearing is being strongly encouraged by the IGHSAU for all people on the bench in volleyball.

In addition to optional masks, another big exception is also being made to the legal volleyball uniform. Although not required, players will be allowed to wear gloves during the 2020 season. Volleyball teams will also not switch benches between sets unless a clear advantage exists by being on a particular end of the floor. Volleyball is the first indoor high school sport in Iowa since the beginning of the outbreak, and the Girls Union says spectator seating should be eliminated in the first two rows of the bleachers wherever possible.

Local Cross Country meets may or may not take on a new look this season. Meet organizers can consider staggered, wave or interval starts. At this time, both the Boys Association and Girls Union are planning on a traditional mass start at the state cross country meets.

While most high school athletes have been participating in offseason workout programs for the past month, the official start of fall sports practice is August 10th.