A push for Iowa’s spring sports to have a chance to compete in the summer — such as the 30-day window the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association left open for spring sports to compete in July — likely won’t get the result it hopes for.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union canceled all spring sports on April 17 after initially postponing their start dates twice. All of Iowa’s winter sports completed their state championships and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that the summer sports would be allowed to begin their seasons on June 1.
The four sports which saw their seasons canceled — track and field, soccer, golf and tennis — saw more than 45,000 participants during the 2018-19 school year. Track was the state’s second-most popular sport based on participation with 12,012 boys and 9,908 girls competing.
In an interview Wednesday, Dubuque Senior activities director and IHSAA Board of Control member Brent Cook said the board had not discussed bringing spring sports back for a short summer season.
“We’ve never had that conversation,” Cook said. “I think when we ultimately made that vote to say we aren’t having spring sports, it was done. But no one has ever brought that up to my knowledge. Not to us anyway.”
Part of the reason, he thinks, is Iowa’s rule allowing in-person contact for out-of-season coaches during the summer months.
Iowa isn’t only unique in that it is the only state to offer summer baseball and softball for its high school programs. It’s also the only state to maintain separate governing bodies for boys and girls high school sports.
It also allows much more lenience toward coach contact during the offseason.
“We have a summer contact period in Iowa that is basically full-on coaching, and other states don’t have that,” Cook said.
The Illinois High School Association and WIAA both allow a limited number of contact days for coaches in the summer. In addition to canceling their spring state tournament series, the IHSA and WIAA have suspended their summer contact days for out-of-season sports.
The WIAA has already tweaked its summer contact rules for spring sports. Once the state’s public health authorities allow sports to return, Wisconsin spring programs will have 30 days, up until either school or the fall sports seasons begin, to hold practice and schedule regular-season games.
Iowa’s out-of-season contact is not allowed to resume until at least July 1.