Reynolds issues new restrictions on recreational activities

Iowa’s governor rolled out new regulations for high school, collegiate, youth, and professional sports activities Monday evening.


Katina Zentz

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the Condition of the State address at the Iowa State Capitol on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is rolling out new restrictions on recreational activities beginning Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

Reynolds is mandating that youth and adult sport and recreation activities be prohibited until her proclamation ends Dec. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

High school, collegiate, and professional sports are allowed to continue competing. At high school events, attendance will be limited to two spectators per athlete.

Reynolds imposed a similar attendance rule for high school sports Nov. 10, limiting attendance to two spectators per student-athlete. Her previous mandate did not apply to high school football, and her current proclamation does specifically mention the sport.

IHSAA Iowa State Football championship round play is slated to begin Nov. 19 in the indoor UNIdome in Cedar Falls.

It is unclear whether Reynolds’ attendance restrictions will apply to collegiate athletics.

The University of Iowa’s football team is already limiting game attendance per Big Ten Conference protocols. According to ESPN, Iowa’s season-high attendance at home this year came Nov. 7 against Michigan State as 1,441 people walked through Kinnick Stadium’s gates.

Coaches, athletes, their families, essential staff, and media are the only entities allowed in Big Ten stadiums this season. Each player is allotted four tickets per home game to dole out to their family.

Perhaps more heavily impacted by Reynolds’ proclamation is Iowa State University Athletics. The Cyclones’ current capacity plan allows up to 25 percent of Jack Trice Stadium to be filled – amounting to roughly 15,000 fans. Reynolds is prohibiting nonessential outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people, including wedding and funeral receptions, family gatherings, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, and concerts.

At its most recent home football game against Baylor Nov. 7, Iowa State allowed 13,535 fans in its stands.

Iowa State Athletics Director Jamie Pollard announced a plan to allow up to 1,373 fans – less than 10 percent capacity – into Hilton Coliseum for men’s and women’s basketball games this year.

Iowa men’s basketball and the Big Ten have yet to release a formal schedule or attendance plan for the upcoming men’s basketball season.

Reynolds’ new regulations also require sport event attendees to wear applicable face coverings. Both Iowa and Iowa State were already imposing face covering requirements at their sporting events.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on what restrictions, if any, would be imposed on collegiate athletics.