A SUMMER SURPRISE: High school baseball, softball approved for June 1 return
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced in a press conference Wednesday, May 20 that summer athletic seasons may be conducted for high school baseball and softball following a two-month activities suspension due to COVID-19.
The announcement approved the reopening of school facilities and the start of practices for Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association sanctioned summer sports starting on Monday, June 1. Per the Iowa Department of Education, first game contests may occur as early as Monday, June 15 and fans will be permitted at games.
The IGSHAU Board of Directors and the IHSAA Board of Control met following the governor’s proclamation and voted that same afternoon to resume the 2020 summer season under the Iowa Department of Education guidelines.
Iowa’s schools are to follow reopening guidance entitled “Summer Sports” and “Use of School Facilities” as supplied by the Iowa Department of Education, with recommendations based on conversations with the IGHSAU, IHSAA, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the governor’s office. Dr. Ann Lebo, executive director of the Iowa Department of Education and member of the IHSAA Board of Control, is expected to join Gov. Reynolds at the daily briefing on Thursday, May 21.
“The IHSAA thanks Dr. Lebo, Governor Reynolds, Dr. Pedati, the IDPH and all who have worked diligently to develop these guidelines to help us conduct a baseball season for the young people in Iowa,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said.
“We trust that our administrators, coaches, umpires and fans will responsibly follow the guidelines in place to keep themselves and each other safe. This is terrific news and is a step toward getting our student-athletes reconnected to the activities that mean so much to them.”
Spring sports seasons never began and were ultimately canceled on April 17 following the cancellation of in-person K-12 schooling for Iowa’s 2019-20 academic year.
The original first practice dates were May 4 for softball and May 18 for baseball.
“The guidelines laid out by the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health will enable us to safely move forward with a softball season this summer,” IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger said. “We are grateful for their leadership and support.
“We know the games will have different circumstances and that we will all have to work together to keep everyone safe, but we are confident that we are up to this challenge.”
The IGHSAU and IHSAA plan to issue further sport-specific guidance and FAQ lists early next week.
Both organizations currently plan to conduct their state tournaments at their previously announced venues, with IGHSAU softball at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge and IHSAA baseball at Principal Park in Des Moines.
Both the Iowa Department of Education and the National Federation of State High School Associations provided guidelines and suggestions on how to re-start sports.
They NFSH suggests limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people, either inside or out. We will have more on these proceedings in the Jefferson Herald
Per guidance from the Iowa Department of Education, coach-athlete contact for all in-person, out-of-season sports is suspended until July 1.
The state organizations did not detail a specific regular season schedule Wednesday nor did they explain what a possible postseason will look like. The baseball state tournament was originally slated to begin July 24 with the first round of postseason play commencing on July 8. The softball postseason was set to originally begin July 6 with the state tournament set for July 20-24 in Fort Dodge.