No spitting, no handshakes guidance for Iowa High School football

Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 10:56 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - No spitting, no post-game handshake and no mask requirements are among the list of recommendations the Iowa High School Athletic Association released for high school football to begin next month.

The Association had already announced a modified schedule giving teams optional games in weeks 1 and 2 and a shorter, 7-game season starting August 27th with expanded playoffs.

In a sport where social distancing is impossible, the guidance says coaches are responsible for enforcing distancing guidelines between players. That includes spacing during stretching and drills, avoiding huddles while coaching, separating different levels of programs and considering limiting team size. To help, the state is expanding the sideline area available for players to stand to between the 10-yard lines, an extra 30 yards from the normal 25-yard line limit.

The protocols for games include a ban on spitting or using water bottles to rinse mouths and urges players not to touch their mouth guards.

Games will also include mandatory timeouts every 4 minutes for teams to sanitize equipment, including game balls, and give water breaks. The guidance encourages mask use but bans plastic face shields unless it is included in a facemask. It also recommends sanitizing both sidelines, equipment, concessions, stands and other areas after each game.

Scrimmages are still allowed between schools.

The guidance also includes guidance for game officials, including bringing their own beverages and hand sanitizer and maintaining distance in all interactions with each other, players and coaches.

While Iowa is starting football as normal under COVID-19, several other states are not. Texas, perhaps the biggest home for high school football, delayed the start for its biggest schools. New Mexico and Utah have postponed fall sports altogether while Florida and Georgia are among states that have moved Fall sports, including football, to the Spring.

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