To prepare for the 2020 varsity football season, the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IAHSAA) released a revised schedule which allows for COVID-19 audibles Friday morning.
Football remains the only Iowa high school sport with regular season schedules and postseason qualifying managed by the IHSAA. The revised plan considers flexibility for school return concerns, geography, postseason qualifying, transportation, and possible COVID-19 cases as rationale for changing previously announced varsity football schedules.
The first practice (Aug. 10) and first competition (Aug. 27) dates are currently unchanged in this revision, as are the weeks for state semifinals (Nov. 13-15) and finals (Nov. 20-21).
This revised plan was approved by the association’s Board of Control Friday. The IHSAA was expected to release further fall season and sport-specific guidance this week. Team schedules will be compiled and released when available.
The 2020 schedule will include:
• Regular season: A seven-week regular season will be conducted. Teams will have the option of scheduling five, six, or seven games within those seven weeks.
• Postseason: All teams in all classes will qualify for the postseason. Brackets will consist of six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA will determine postseason pairings with geography, quality, and team availability as primary considerations. This is intended to be a one-time measure for postseason formatting.
• Optional dates: Week 1 and week 2 will be optional game dates. Opponents, locations, and participation may determined by member schools in 11-player football.
• RPI formula: With all teams allowed entry into the postseason, the Ratings Percentage Index will not be utilized in 2020 to determine at-large berths or seeding.
• District games: Teams in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A, and single-A will play their scheduled district games in the previously established order. This change means the prior week 5 becomes week 3, week 6 becomes week 4, etc., in this revised plan.
• Class 4A: Participating schools will schedule their own regular season games. The previously announced group format and success model will not be implemented in 2020. The IHSAA encourages conferences to collaborate in creating their schedules.
• Eight-player: Teams will play Week 3 through Week 9 of their previously announced schedules in what is now Week 1 through Week 7. Due to the number of teams in the classification, eight-player has opponents scheduled on the optional dates of Week 1 and Week 2. Teams in Eight-Player may opt out of those contests, but may not change opponents or locations unless an agreement is reached with all participating teams and the IHSAA.
• Missing games: Due to the potential of positive COVID-19 cases forcing players and teams to miss games in the 2020 regular season, the revised plan does not penalize teams with a loss or forfeit due to state, county, or local health department determinations. A missed game due to COVID-19 will be considered a “no contest” and will not be made up. Teams may work with the IHSAA and new possible opponents should they have open dates due to scheduled opponents missing games.
• Out of state games: Teams with scheduled games against out of state opponents may attempt to reschedule those contests during the optional Week 1 or Week 2.
• Team participation: Providing for start dates as currently scheduled, the IHSAA requests member schools state their intent to participate in football’s regular season and postseason by August 17.