Prep Football

What impact will the Big Ten's decision to cancel fall sports play on Iowa high schools?

IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said 'nothing has changed,' and will continue to reassess

Cedar Rapids Kennedy players run onto the field before the start of a high school football game against West Des Moines
Cedar Rapids Kennedy players run onto the field before the start of a high school football game against West Des Moines Valley at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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The Big Ten has canceled — or at least postponed — its football season.

The Big 12 is still on.

Both of those Power 5 conferences have teams from the state of Iowa.

So, which way is the Iowa High School Athletic Association leaning?

“Stay tuned, brother,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said Wednesday morning.

“As of today, nothing has changed,” Keating said in a phone interview with The Gazette. “As of today, we’re still planning on going on as scheduled.”

Practice opened for fall sports Monday throughout the state, and a seven-week football regular season is scheduled to kick off Aug. 28.

“Part of me feels that if kids are in school, they should be able to participate in activities,” Keating said. “That’s part of school.

“We have a lot of people with a lot of opinions, but a lot of them don’t have a lot of information.”

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Iowa is among a majority of Midwest states that still intends to proceed with fall sports, along with Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Minnesota and Illinois will shift football to the spring.

“The plan is to continue on,” Keating said. “We’ll keep assessing, and make some decisions based on that.”

Big Ten presidents axed the fall football season Tuesday, though commissioner Kevin Warren said it wasn’t a unanimous decision.

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“I’ve said a few times, I want the ‘why’ for the decision. Does that ‘why’ relate to us?” Keating said.

“Is it because the Big Ten can’t control the virus living within their lives. or is it a case in which the travel, the fans, it’s too much of a challenge? I don’t know.”

The Big 12, which contains Iowa State University, plans to proceed.

“Again, it’s the ‘why,’ Keating said. “Does their decision relate to us?”

The IHSAA and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union canceled spring sports, then contested summer sports, which concluded about two weeks ago. About 95 percent of high school baseball and softball teams were able to get through the season without a major impact due to COVID-19.

IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger could not be reached for comment.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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