Linder’s idea might just salvage fall sports

Pete Temple
Home Stretch
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     If you are a coach, player or fan of high school football, it might be time to ask yourself this question: Would you rather have a football season played in the spring, or none at all? The same question could also be asked of those involved in prep volleyball and cross country.

     Those might be the only choices, no thanks to the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iowa and across the nation. And Jeff Linder of the Gazette has a brilliant solution.

     Very simply, the plan calls for flip-flopping the Iowa fall and spring sports for the 2020-21 school year. Football, volleyball and cross country would move to the spring, while (for Monticello) track and golf would move to the fall. The soccer seasons would be put off until the summer of 2021. Linder posted the plan on Twitter Friday, and it appeared in the Gazette Sunday.

     Linder, like me, is among a growing band of people who find it hard to believe that it will be safe to conduct football games, or even practices, in time for the fall season. Football, after all, has more contact than any other high school sport conducted in Iowa. And that contact happens on almost every play.

     The thinking makes sense. Golf, without question, has more social distancing than any other prep sport, and might be the only sport that could have been safely conducted this past spring. Meanwhile, Linder noted, there have been a couple of small track meets run in Iowa in recent weeks, proving that with some modifications, track could happen this fall.

     Moving football to spring will allow time for things to settle down again, COVID-wise. Clearly, you couldn’t conduct cross country at the same time as track, so it makes sense for “XC” to move to spring as well. Volleyball, like basketball, involves multiple people touching the ball on nearly every play, so if that could be more safely conducted in the spring, it seems logical to have volleyball join the others and make it a spring sport for just this one school year.

     Or as Linder wrote, “To salvage these sports for 2020-21, we should delay them.”

     You could look to Linder’s column in the Gazette or online to find a detailed listing of when practices and competitions would begin under his proposal. Whatever tweaks might have to be made, I hope this idea, or a similar version of it, draws enough attention to get serious consideration from both the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

     Because if the choices are trading the fall season for the spring one, or not having fall sports at all, it seems like an easy call.


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