Iowa High School Athletic Association announces revised 2020 football schedule

A seven-week regular season will be conducted and teams will have the option of scheduling five, six, or seven games within those seven weeks.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Joseph Cress

An official watches play during a 4A varsity high school football game between Iowa City High and West High at Bates Field in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Sports Editor

The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Friday that, to better prepare for the 2020 varsity football season, it has developed a revised schedule plan which allows for member school adjustments due to COVID-19.

A seven-week regular season will be conducted under this revised schedule, cutting down from the traditional nine-game regular season. Teams will have the option of scheduling five, six, or seven games within those seven weeks.

“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 IHSAA said in a release.

The first practice (August 10) and first competition (August 27) dates are currently unchanged in this revision, as are the weeks for state semifinals (November 13-15) and finals (November 20-21). Under this schedule, the playoffs will begin October 16.

Week 1 and Week 2 will be optional game dates under this plan. Opponents, locations, and participation may be determined by member schools in 11-player football.

Under this plan, all teams in all classes will qualify for the postseason. Brackets will consist of six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA said it 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, according to the IHSAA.

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.

The IHSAA said that it requests member schools state their intent to participate in the football regular season and postseason by August 17. It also said that teams will not be punished for forfeiting a game due to COVID-19 concerns.

“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,” the IHSAA said in a release. “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.”

Teams in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A, and A will play their scheduled district games in the previously established order.

Participating 4A schools will schedule their own regular season games. The previously announced group format and success model will not be implemented in 2020. The IHSAA said it 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.

Any teams with scheduled games against out of state opponents may attempt to reschedule those contests during the optional Week 1 or Week 2.

This revised plan was approved by the Board of Control on Friday, according to a release. The IHSAA said it plans to release further fall season and sport-specific guidance next week. Team schedules will be compiled and released when available. Football remains the only Iowa high school sport with regular season schedules and postseason qualifying managed by the IHSAA.

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