Little Hawkeye Conference, DCG, set new winter sports guidelines

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
The DCG student section during a home volleyball contest.

Following the recent proclamation made by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday, Jan. 7 lifting the restrictions on fan attendance limits at winter sporting events, the Little Hawkeye Conference made an announcement of their own. 

On Monday, Jan. 11, the conference announced new guidelines in accordance with Reynolds' proclamation. This came after the activities directors across all eight conference schools came together to come up with the new guidelines. 

"The focus was to primarily open things up to include additional family members that would be more on the extended side," began DCG activities director Brent Buttjer. "It was also a way to find a way to get our students back into the activities environment while at the same time, making sure that our gyms aren't over 35 or 40 percent capacity. The COVID-19 piece is still real and we recognize that but if we can find a way to slightly increase our attendance to include additional family members and students at home, that's what we're aiming for." 

As a conference, the LHC will be allowing admission to all household members plus others (upon school discretion) for all home fans per participant.

"One of the bigger changes fans will notice is that we will no longer be accepting vouchers from visiting nor will they be accepting vouchers from us," Buttjer said. "What that means is that those who chose the two-week voucher options will now have to declare an individual or individuals to sign in under their name. Overall it's similar to what it's been in the past, minus the voucher piece." 

Other components to the new guidelines include: 

  • Visiting fans will be limited to immediate household members or two individuals who can be checked in at the admissions gate. 
  • Lower level middle school attendance will come as a local decision 
  • Admission will be $5 for everyone and activity passes will be accepted. 
  • Additional components will be added such as cheerleaders and dance teams will be permitted. However, pep-bands will not be permitted and will not perform. 
  • Six-foot distances must be maintained between non-family groups. 
  • All visitors attending the athletic events must have masks on at all times. 
  • No outside food or drink will be permitted. 
  • All conference contests will be live streamed.

Along with those conference guidelines, there are also guidelines that are specific to Dallas Center-Grimes. On a school-by-school basis, student sections may or may not be allowed. For all DCG home contests, the school will be allowing a maximum of 36 students to take part of the student section. 

"We felt we could mitigate 36 students although that could change," said Buttjer. "You might see more or less at different schools. Students will receive links so that they can sign up for tickets." 

DCG has been host to various different events over the past few years from hosting the IBCA All-Star games to normal post-season IGHSAU and IHSAA contests. With the dimensions of the gymnasiums within DCG High School, Buttjer and company found 36 to be a good fit. 

"We're pretty fortunate that we have a large gym, one of the largest in the area that we could increase a bit and still have a safe area for all," Buttjer said.

Of course, the guidelines for both the conference and DCG specifically are fluid and might change either way, depending on the current climate. 

"The biggest hurdle is making sure we adhere to social distancing as much as possible all while expanding the number of fans overall," began Buttjer. "The mantra of the year has been today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. Be prepared for change and adjust. I totally expect that these won't be the final guidelines for the remainder of the year." 

For DCG, the allowance of more fans comes amid a winter campaign riding on quite a high note. The Mustang boys basketball team currently sits number one in the Class 3A rankings while the girls sit top-10 as well. Meanwhile the Mustang grapplers are having another strong campaign. 

"It's been a great winter and that came off an outstanding fall," Buttjer said. "Credit goes to our athletes and coaches getting through a lot of challenges and putting product on the floor that has and will continue to be successful. I feel good about where we're at and where we're going. It's where you finish, not where you start and all of our goals are still ahead of us." 

Buttjer also mentioned his appreciation for the communities of Dallas Center and Grimes over the course of the pandemic. 

"I would like to thank the community for their support and patience," Buttjer continued. "We know that things aren't normal but at the same time we appreciate the support and flexibility in these ever-changing times."