IHSAA, IGHSAU release additional guidelines for summer sports

Webster City baseball, softball teams expected to play approximately 15 games each

Beau Klaver, Ty McKinney, Tyler Olson and Zach Dyvig celebrate after Webster City wrapped up the 2019 NCC title last summer. Celebrations like this will not be permitted this summer due to social distancing guidelines put in place. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union yesterday released a set of recommendations for the upcoming baseball and softball seasons, as well as answers to some of the many questions being asked about how programs proceed during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Iowa’s two governing bodies of prep athletics reinstated the seasons following the suspension in early May. Teams may begin practicing on June 1, with games scheduled to start on June 15. The IGHSAU also pushed back the start of its postseason by one week to allow for an extra week of regular season softball games.

The new list of guidelines and recommendations is hefty. Some of the key points include:

•For schools that decide to opt out of the seasons, they must provide a written declaration to the IHSAA (baseball) and IGHSAU (softball) by June 8.

•Schools can choose to cancel their seasons at any time if they feel there are concerns regarding COVID-19.

Webster City pitcher Jenna Miller works out of the circle during a 2019 game. Miller is expected back in the circle for the Lynx this summer when the season gets under way on June 15. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

•Per Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation on May 6, all athletes are eligible to play regardless of classroom performance.

•Transportation guidelines for programs will come from the Iowa Department of Education later this week.

•If a player tests positive for COVID-19, schools must contact the county’s department of public health for guidelines.

•If a team chooses not to play a game due to COVID-19 concerns, it will be required to forfeit unless the local department of public health deems the game unplayable.

•Players and coaches should take their temperatures at home prior to leaving for practices or games. Anyone with a temperature of 100.3 or above should stay home.

•Fans are encouraged to take their temperatures as well prior to leaving home for games with the same guidelines as players.

•Players and coaches should wash their hands prior to practices and use hand sanitizer after coming into contact with any shared equipment.

•Coaches are tasked with ensuring social distancing occurs as much as possible during practices and games. The National Federation of High School Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommends that workouts be conducted in pods, with the same five to 10 players working out together.

•Dugouts are not to be used during practices, but can be used for games.

•Schools must limit the use of bleachers for fans during games. Fans are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or stand while keeping social distancing in mind.

•Concession stands will not be permitted at games.

•Masks will not be required for players, umpires, coaches or fans.

•Players are encouraged to use their own equipment — bats, gloves, helmets, catching gear, etc. — whenever possible.

•Gymnasiums can be used for practice if the weather dictates.

•There will be no additional adaptations to the original number of games that each team is allowed to play.

•There will also be no additional adaptations to the pitch count rules for baseball.

•Each school district and/or conference will determine the grade levels and whether or not freshman and junior varsity games will take place. Middle school programs have been canceled for the season.

•Softball regional play will begin on July 13 with the state tournament set for July 27-31 at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.

•Baseball postseason play will get under way on July 9. The state tournament will be held July 24 through Aug. 1 at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Webster City

WCHS athletic director Joe Shanks says the two Lynx teams will play approximately 15 games each, and the Lynx have pulled out of any weekend tournaments originally on the schedule.


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