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IHSAA, IGHSAU release guidelines for fall sports amid COVID-19
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IHSAA, IGHSAU release guidelines for fall sports amid COVID-19

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The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union on Wednesday released COVID-19 safety guidelines for the upcoming fall sports season.

These recommendations are put in place in order to make fall competition as safe as possible, but are subject to be updated. Listed below are some of the key guidelines for each individual sport. For all sports, fans are encouraged to social distance at least six feet apart, not attend if they are feeling ill and are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.

The complete lists of guidelines for each sport can be found at and


*Social distancing, Spacing between players while stretching and performing drills so that players remain 6 feet apart.

*The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommends that workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students, with the same 5-10 students always working out together. Coaches should keep a record of who is in each pod to facilitate contact-tracing if necessary.

*The IHSAA will be expanding the team box for the 2020 season to each respective 10-yard lines, providing 30 additional yards for players and personnel to spread out. This adoption is for players only. Coaches are still mandated to be inside the 25-yard lines. Coaches may enter the expanded team box area for supervision purposes only.

*Only essential personnel are permitted within the boundaries of the field of play, which is defined as players, coaches, athletic trainers and officials. All others, such as ball attendants, managers, video people, media photographers, etc. are considered non-essential personnel and are to be on the sideline, maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet apart.

*For the mock coin toss, the referee, umpire and one designated representative from each team. Coin toss should take place in the center of the field with designated individuals maintaining social distancing of 6 feet. No handshakes prior to and following the coin toss. Use the same procedure for overtime.

*Teams shall not exchange handshakes following the contest, but can acknowledge opponent with other appropriate non-contact measures.

* Scrimmages against another school are still permitted. Intra-squad scrimmages are also permissible.

* A mandatory officials’ timeout will be taken every four minutes of game clock time in order for teams to properly sanitize and hydrate during the contest. This timeout is to be two minutes in length. In addition, the intermission between the first and second quarter and the third and fourth quarter should also be two minutes in length in order to allow for proper sanitizing and hydration.

* Masks are encouraged but not required to be worn by players, game officials, chain gangs, ball retrievers, statisticians, managers, athletic trainers and coaches. It is recommended that if worn, players and coaches wear a mask that is a solid color. There is no prohibition on the color of the mask.

* At the conclusion of each game, it is necessary to sanitize both the home and visiting team benches and any other areas that may have been used by either team. Spectator areas, locker rooms, training rooms, restrooms, concession stands and press box should also be cleaned and sanitized.


* Participants and spectators to practice social distancing and to wear face coverings whenever possible.

* Attendees for the coin toss are limited to one coach from each team, one captain from each team, first referee and second referee. All six individuals must maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet. Face coverings are strongly encouraged to be worn by all pre-match conference attendees.

* Teams are required to bring their own volleyballs to use for warm-ups for away matches. (Volleyballs must be marked to help with identification purposes when traveling with volleyballs).

* Avoid playing matches simultaneously on side-by-side courts if possible.

* Teams are not to switch benches between sets. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.

* All players must sanitize their hands before and after warm-ups, at all timeouts, between sets and anytime they leave the playing court. Coaches are strongly encouraged to sanitize their hands as often as possible as well.


*It will be the general practice of the IHSAA to defer to the local committee (host course/host school) on whether to utilize tee times versus shotgun starts for regular season competition in a fashion that promotes social distancing.

*Do not touch or handle any supplies or equipment that is not yours.

*Players and spectators should not enter the clubhouse at host courses unless communicated entry points and restrooms are stated.

*If possible, provide pool noodles or PVC in practice green holes to prevent the ball from dropping all the way in the cup.

*Spectators are allowed at competitions, but just as in the past, spectators should maintain ample distance from all players.

Cross Country

*No hugging, shaking hands or fist bumps.

*Cross country meets may consider using staggered, wave or interval starts. Note at the current time the state qualifying meet and state meet will be using the traditional mass start. Consideration should be given to the format of the meet, including having different levels run on different nights.

*Consider using finish corrals and FAT timing for larger meets as easier to distance at finish.

Swimming and diving

*Only one person per lane for lap counting should be permitted at turning end. Provide hand sanitizer and require lap counters to clean hands and wipe down devices.

*Meet Officials responsible for information processing are often located together at a desk/table adjacent to the competition course or in an office/remote location. Develop alternative methods for submitting entries and movement of non-electronic information. Require a distance of 3-6 feet between individuals seated at the desk/table. Masks for officials are allowed and encouraged.

*Timers must assemble at the finish of each race, at the edge of the pool within the 6-8 feet confines of the lane which they are timing. Timers are strongly encouraged to wear cloth facial coverings.

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