The Iowa High School Athletic Association has approved a shortened schedule for the upcoming football season.
The plan features a 7-game regular season with all teams qualifying for the playoffs. Teams in eight-player through 3A will play all or most of their previously scheduled district games while 4A schools will be free to set their own 7-game schedules.
Association spokesman Chris Cuellar says they had to offer flexibility due to the pandemic and the 9-game schedule they had planned was not feasible with all the travel. Cuellar says the changes will allow schools flexibility to deal with COVID-19.
“We learned quite a few lessons from the baseball season — including what missed games do to teams. The football season and the postseason qualification — which a passionate topic for a lot of people who follow the sport — it wasn’t realistic in the way that COVID is interrupting activities,” according to Cuellar. “By shortening the schedule and offering a couple of optional weeks at the start of the season for schools that may not be ready or may not want to travel, or may not be good to go in week one, we feel like we are offering and a way to compete in the way that they want to.”
Cuellar says under the plan a team’s postseason hopes won’t be ended by a positive test. “There’s not a penalty for missed games if some teams play four, some teams play seven, all teams are going to qualify,” he says.
Practice is still set to begin August 10th and the first Friday of the regular season will be August 28th.
Iowa is the first state in the nation to bring back high school sports with the summer baseball and softball seasons.
— Radio Iowa