IHSAA Restricting Fans On Final Day Of State Basketball Tourney
Friday will be a day like no other in the 109-year history of the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball Tournament.
Due to increasing concern over the spread and impact of the novel coronavirus, spectator restrictions are being put in place for the final day of this week's event. The six games on Friday's slate will be played as scheduled, but only about 100 fans will be in attendance, Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) officials said in a Thursday afternoon press release. The Class 3A and Class 4A consolation finals and championship games in each of the state's four classes are set to played at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, part of the Iowa Events Center.
Eighth-seeded Wapsie Valley (20-7) plays No. 2 seed Algona Bishop Garrigan (24-2) for the Class 1A title at 2 PM. Two-time defending Class 4A champion Cedar Falls (22-3) will also be in action Friday, playing in the consolation final at 11:55 AM.
IHSAA officials said team members, game officials, essential tournament workers, Iowa Events Center staff, limited credentialed media, and select school spectators (see below) will be the only people allowed inside Wells Fargo Arena. Spectators will be asked to leave the facility once their game is complete.
According to IHSAA officials, other spectators and previously scheduled award recipients and visitors will not be permitted inside Wells Fargo Arena. The organization acknowledged the spectator restrictions are inconvenient and unprecedented.
In the press release, IHSAA officials said they made the decision to limit fans after consulting with health officials, state and local government leaders, and Iowa Events Center management.
All games scheduled to be played Thursday continued as normal, without spectator restriction. Those games included the Class 1A and 2A consolation finals, and the Class 3A and 4A semifinals. Second-seeded Cedar Falls fell to No. 6 Ankeny (20-5), 71-57, in the last of the 4A semifinals at 8:15 PM.
Team & Family Spectator Information
Each of Friday’s participating schools will be allowed up to 100 total entrants, free of charge. The number includes the official team traveling party, which the IHSAA recommends should be immediate family members. The organization is requiring that participating schools submit a list of names, in advance, for those attending.
Those spectators will be checked in as a group, 30 minutes before tipoff of their game, at the north entrance of Wells Fargo Arena.
The remaining games will be available to view through the Iowa High School Sports Network’s coverage. The IHSSN has television coverage for semifinals and finals, free live streaming, and a free downloadable app to view the games. Visit ihssn.com/basketball or ihssn.com/live for viewing information.
IHSAA staff said they will also provide frequent updates on the games through its website and social media platforms.
Spectators who purchased tickets in advance of Friday’s games at Wells Fargo Arena will be refunded at the point of purchase.
The IHSAA will continue working with health officials to determine adjustments or preventative measures for the upcoming spring sports seasons. Updates will be provided as they become available.