The Iowa High School Athletic Association is making changes to the 2020 football season that impacts every team across the state.

The IHSAA Board of Control announced a revised schedule plan Friday that allows each school to make adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a news release (attached below), the revised plan considers flexibility for school return concerns, geography, postseason qualifying, transportation, and possible COVID-19 cases as rationale for changing previously announced varsity football schedules.

Football remains the only Iowa high school sport with regular season schedules and postseason qualifying managed by the IHSAA. Under the revised plan, the regular season will be shortened to seven weeks with an expanded post-season.

The playoffs will begin Oct. 16 and every team in all six classes will qualify for the championship tournament. Brackets will consist of six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA will determine postseason pairings with geography, quality, and team availability as primary considerations.

Source: Iowa High School Athletic Association

This year will mark the first time since the playoffs began in 1972 that every team will make the playoffs. The 2020 postseason formatting is intended to be a one-time measure, IHSAA officials said.

Under the revised plan approved by the Board of Control on Friday, the first practice (August 10) and first competition (Aug. 27) dates remain unchanged from the previously announced schedule. Also unchanged are the dates for state semifinal (Nov. 13-15) and championship games (Nov. 20-21).

The IHSAA plans to release further fall season and sport-specific guidance next week. Team schedules will be compiled and released when available, IHSAA officials said.

Here is Iowa High School Athletic Association news release:

2020 IHSAA Football Scheduling Plan

REGULAR SEASON: A seven-week regular season will be conducted. Teams will have the option of scheduling five, six, or seven games within those seven weeks.

POSTSEASON: All teams in all classes will qualify for the postseason. Brackets will consist of six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA will determine postseason pairings with geography, quality, and team availability as primary considerations. This is intended to be a one-time measure for postseason formatting.

OPTIONAL DATES: Week 1 and Week 2 will be optional game dates. Opponents, locations, and participation may determined by member schools in 11-player football.

RPI FORMULA: With all teams allowed entry into the postseason, the Ratings Percentage Index will not be utilized in 2020 to determine at-large berths or seeding.

DISTRICT GAMES: Teams in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A, and A will play their scheduled district games in the previously established order. This change means the prior Week 5 becomes Week 3, Week 6 becomes Week 4, etc., in this revised plan.

CLASS 4A: Participating schools will schedule their own regular season games. The previously announced group format and success model will not be implemented in 2020. The IHSAA encourages conferences to collaborate in creating their schedules.

EIGHT-PLAYER: Teams will play Week 3 through Week 9 of their previously announced schedules in what is now Week 1 through Week 7. Due to the number of teams in the classification, Eight-Player has opponents scheduled on the optional dates of Week 1 and Week 2. Teams in Eight-Player may opt out of those contests, but may not change opponents or locations unless an agreement is reached with all participating teams and the IHSAA.

MISSING GAMES: Due to the potential of positive COVID-19 cases forcing players and teams to miss games in the 2020 regular season, the revised plan does not penalize teams with a loss or forfeit due to state, county, or local health department determinations. A missed game due to COVID-19 will be considered a “no contest” and will not be made up. Teams may work with the IHSAA and new possible opponents should they have open dates due to scheduled opponents missing games.

OUT OF STATE GAMES: Teams with scheduled games against out of state opponents may attempt to reschedule those contests during the optional Week 1 or Week 2.

TEAM PARTICIPATION: Providing for start dates as currently scheduled, the IHSAA requests member schools state their intent to participate in football’s regular season and postseason by August 17.

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