The Iowa High School Athletic Union has suspended the spring sports season Monday morning, March 16, at 9:15 a.m.
The decision follows Iowa governor Kim Reynold’s recommendation that schools close for a four week stretch to help limit the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) as its growing concerns reach new heights.
“Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response,” Gov. Reynolds said in Sunday’s release. “I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
This recommended closure date currently extends through Friday, April 10 and would mean a school return of April 13.
Prior to April 10, the schedule will be assessed as necessary with information from the Governor, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, and activity partners at the IGHSAU, IHSAA, IHSMA, and IHSSA.
Per CDC guidelines recommending the cancellation of gatherings of more than 50 individuals for at least eight weeks, events following the planned four-week school closure in Iowa will be updated as the situation develops.
The release stated:
The first practice date for three IHSAA (boys) spring sports was set for Monday, March 16: golf, soccer, and tennis. Baseball was scheduled to begin limited practice time on April 1.
The first practice dates for IGHSAU (girls) tennis and golf was set for Monday, March 16. The first practice dates for girls’ soccer was set for March 23.
The first practice date for boys’ baseball and girls’ softball, May 4, remains the same until further information is provided.
The first practice and competition date for boys/girls track and field was Feb. 17.
All IHSAA and IGHSAU sports are now in a prohibited period for practice, competition, and sanctioned activity until the closure is lifted. This prohibition means no in-person contact between coaches/administrators and student-athletes for the duration of the period.
The union went on to include the mention of no in-person contact between teachers and administrators for the duration of the period. Speech events will also be prohibited, with makeup dates to be scheduled at a later date.
NJCAA season cut short
The National Junior College Athletic Association canceled all spring sports, as well as the basketball championships, “effective immediately” Monday, March 16, due to the widespread concern of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“In light of the progressive involvement of the COVID-19 situation, the NJCAA has decided to end all competition for the remainder of the academic year,” Christopher Parker, NJCAA President & CEO said in a press release Monday. “As an association, the NJCAA exhausted all possible avenues to potentially postpone competition for both upcoming basketball championships and spring sport competition. We believe following the recommendations of the CDC is in the best interest of our member colleges and our student-athletes.”
All “practices, regular season, postseason and national championship play” fall under the realm of the spring sports. Recruiting was held to a stop until April 15 for on and off-campus visits.
For student-athletes that started a season, they will not use a year of eligibility and will be eligible for the next season.
“No spring sport student-athlete who was enrolled at a member college in 2020 will be charged a year of participation,” the NJCAA said in a press release.
Southwestern Community College had pushed back its season to resume play Friday, April 3, with hope of resuming the season.
Now, SWCC, along witg Ottuma-based Indian Hills, joins the hundreds of NCAA and NAIA schools who have had its season cut short due to COVID-19.
“This is hard for a lot of people,” said Southwestern athletic director Doug North on Twitter. “There is always a silver lining, sometimes you have to pray to see it.”
OST sports reporter Brennen Normand also contributed to this report.