Football schedule revised for the 2020 season
Not even the 2020 Iowa high school football season is immune to the impact of COVID-19. Recently, the IHSAA released a revised schedule for the upcoming 2020 high school football campaign.
The sport remains as the only Iowa high school sport with regular-season schedules and postseason qualifying managed by the IHSAA. The revised plan considers flexibility for concerns regarding returning to school, geography, postseason qualifying, and possible COVID-19 cases as a reason for changing previously announced varsity football schedules. The first practice date of August 10 and the first competition date of August 27 are currently set to go on as planned, unchanged. The state semifinals (November 13-15) and the finals (set for November 20-21) will also remain unchanged.
The scheduling plan will look like this for the 2020 season:
- Regular Season: A seven-week regular season will be conducted. Teams will have the option of going with a five, six, or seven-game schedule withing those seven weeks.
- Postseason: All teams in all classes will qualify for the postseason. Brackets will include six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA will determine postseason pairings with geography, quality, and team availability as the primary considerations. The IHSAA mentioned that it is intended to be a one-time measure for the formatting of the postseason.
- Optional Dates: Weeks one and two will be available for optional games. Locations, opponents, and participation may be determined by member schools in 11-player football.
- RPI Formula: The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) will not be used to determine at-large berths or seeding in 2020 with all teams being allowed entry into the postseason.
- District Games: For teams in the classes 3A, 2A, 1A, and A, they will play their scheduled district games in that exact order. The impact to note is that the prior Week five becomes week 3, and week six becomes week 4 and so on.
- Class 4A: Schools will schedule their own regular-season games if they reside in Class 4A. The group format that was announced earlier will not be put into practice for the 2020 season.
- Eight-Player: For teams in the eight-player class, teams will play week three through week nine of their prior established schedules in what is now week one through week seven. Due to the number of teams in this classification, opponents are scheduled on the optional dates of week one and week two. Teams in eight-player may opt-out of these contests but may not change opponents or locations unless a prior agreement is reached with teams and the IHSAA.
- Missing Games: Due to the potential of positive COVID-19 cases forcing both players and teams to miss 2020 games, the revised plan does not penalize teams with a loss or forfeit due to state, county, or local health department decisions. A missed game due to COVID-19 will be considered a no-contest and will not be made up.
- Out of State Games: Teams with scheduled games against out of state opponents may attempt to reschedule those games during the optional week one or week two time frames.
As for other dates in the 2020 football season, first-round postseason games will be set to begin on October 16 with second-round games commencing on October 23, and third-round games beginning on October 30. Playing dates are Fridays but are subject to change for Thursdays and Saturdays depending on the host school and site availability.