It’s been a wild week in the world of Iowa high school sports. On Wednesday, May 20, Gov. Kim Reynolds gave the go-ahead for school activities to commence and within a few hours, the IHSAA and the IGHSAU officially got the ball rolling.
Amid the excitement of the season ahead come the challenges that face this unique situation. One of those challenges includes how each conference will go about their scheduling for the shortened season. The West Central Activities Conference noted that they would not determine a conference champion for both baseball and softball in 2020. On the opposite end of that, the Raccoon River Conference decided on what their conference schedule might look like.
Conference activity directors met Thursday, May 21 to get clarity on what the conference landscape might look like for the 2020 season. From that meeting came the decision to reduce the number of conference games from 14 to seven that will count towards teams’ conference records. With competitive action picking back up on June 15, it practically splits the conference seasons in half for softball and baseball, leading to what was a fairly quick decision among Raccoon River Conference activity directors including ADM’s Larry Moklestad.
“Prior to June 15, we would have played five or six of our conference opponents already,” began Moklestad. “Because of the way the schedule breaks, June 15 is just about the midway point in the conference schedule.”
Moklestad also pointed out that most teams will not have played every conference team prior to June 15 in the regular schedule. There will be several schools that each team still has to play twice, but only one of those games per series will count towards the seven conference games.
“For ADM, we’ll play Carroll twice after June 15,” said Moklestad. “The first game will be designated as non-conference but the second one will count towards the conference standings.”
Ballard will be the other program that ADM is set to play twice following June 15 for both softball and baseball teams. There was a heavy interest within the Raccoon River Conference in preserving as much of the conference schedule as possible and from that the determination was made that there will be conference champions determined in both baseball and softball this season. Where the fluidity lies within the scheduling comes from the non-conference slate. Moklestad mentioned that especially for baseball with more open dates, the team will be looking to reschedule some of the more long-standing non-conference battles that would have been missed prior to June 15.
No matter what type of season would have been presented to the fans, players, and coaches, the conference as a whole was determined to have a conference slate.
“We had already had a discussion about a month ago of what the season might look like if things went the way they have,” said Moklestad. “We were already in agreement about that. We could have scheduled double-headers to get the full 14 conference games in but then that would have made it problematic for the ninth-grade and JV guys and we didn’t want to leave them out.”
For the schedule as a whole, the ADM softball team will be looking at 19 regular-season games set across a three-to-four week time frame. For the Tiger baseball program, they will be looking at roughly 15-16 regular-season games, depending on any possible additions or weather cancellations. Looking at how the shortened season affects the home schedules for both teams, softball will have seven home games while baseball will be looking at six home games.
Another established piece has been the cancellation of the middle school softball and baseball seasons. On the other hand, the various questions that still remain will be whether there will be ninth-grade and junior varsity seasons. There has been talk about whether those campaigns will get off the ground for 2020 but a final decision won’t be made until later.
As for the postseason slate, the substate and state tournament dates as of now remain in-tact as they normally would. The state tournament sites including Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge for softball and Principal Park in Des Moines for baseball. The tournament dates remain the same as of now.