Prior to the shutdown of statewide activities due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Control met to discuss several items on its agenda.


Just like girls’ basketball, the boys’ basketball and wrestling state tournaments will continue to take place at Wells Fargo Arena for at least the next five years.

The Board of Control approved contracts at last week’s meeting with Spectra, operator of Iowa Events Center, to keep the state wrestling tournaments and state basketball tournament inside Wells Fargo Arena through at least 2025.

“We are excited to extend our agreement with the Iowa Events Center to host our state wrestling and basketball championships at Wells Fargo Arena,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said.

“This extension allows our student-athletes to continue to experience the thrill of state tournament competition in a first-class venue. This terrific facility, paired with the hospitality our fans and teams are shown by the Des Moines metro business community, is a winning combination.”

The contract extensions ensure the IHSAA’s two highest-attended tournament events stay in Des Moines, and include five optional annual renewals after 2025 which could take the contract through 2030.

The traditional wrestling tournament has been in Des Moines every year since 1972, and basketball every year since 1963. Both events moved to Wells Fargo Arena once it opened in 2006.

“High school athletics are a tremendous source of pride for Iowa communities and we are proud to work with Tom and the IHSAA to keep the state wrestling and basketball championships in Des Moines at Wells Fargo Arena,” said Spectra’s Chris Connolly, general manager of Wells Fargo Arena.

“We are excited to work in conjunction with the IHSAA to provide all participants, support staff, and fans with an unmatched state tournament experience well into the future.”

State wrestling currently has four contracted dates, including one day for duals and three for the traditional tournament. State basketball’s schedule is five days since the IHSAA made the shift away from a six-day format in 2018.

“This is fantastic news for our metro,” Catch Des Moines CEO and president Greg Edwards said. “The IHSAA has a long history in bringing two of its largest events to our capital city. The IHSAA state wrestling championships continue to lead the country in attendance, and the boys’ basketball tournament has a great impact too. Both of these events generate huge economic benefits to our Iowa Events Center and so many local businesses. We are grateful for their continued support.”

The IHSAA is concluded the state basketball tournament March 13 with attendance restrictions at Wells Fargo Arena.


The IHSAA’s wrestling advisory committee met in Boone on Feb. 27 to discuss the future of the state dual team tournament and wrestling’s postseason.

Asked to consider possible date and venue changes for state duals and their effects on sectional tournaments, the group preferred the IHSAA keep state duals in the current arrangement at Wells Fargo Arena the day before the traditional tournament. No formal recommendation was made. The approved agreements with Iowa Events Center include keeping state duals at Wells Fargo Arena.

The committee, alongside leadership from the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, was primarily concerned about how an IHSAA staff proposal – moving state duals to the current weekend of sectionals and a different facility, shifting all classes to district events as the only tournaments for individual state qualifying – would be executed, and would affect Class 2A and Class 1A programs.

The committee will still hold its annual spring meeting with plans to address possible qualifying procedures for postseason duals, and other recommendations.



A new student advisory committee will begin with the 2020-2021 school year.

The committee will consist of students who participate in interscholastic athletics and activities, are focused on leadership and are interested in becoming liaisons on behalf of students for the IHSAA, staff, Board of Control, and member schools.

The IHSAA is seeking the perspective of advisory committee members on proposed by-law changes, state tournament assistance and feedback, while also providing leadership and educational opportunities.

The 12-member committee will consist of six juniors and six seniors each year, with applications opening later this month and selections notified in May.


Board members approved the annual Basic Educational Data Survey from the Iowa Department of Education. The IHSAA and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union use these documents for enrollment-based sport classifications.

Under the new classification system, Atlantic had an enrollment of 323 in grades 9-11, and was listed as the state’s 103rd-largest school. Under a four-class system (used for basketball, track and baseball), the Trojans would remain in Class 3A, the second-largest enrollment classification. For IGHSAU sports – volleyball, basketball and softball) that use a five-class scheme, Atlantic remains in Class 3A.

ACGC, with an enrollment of 180, is in Class 2A under the four-class system as the 182nd-largest school. AHSTW – which fell in Class 2A guidelines this year – will drop back to Class 1A in 2020-2021 as the 208th-largest school in the state and an enrollment of 156.

Remaining in Class 1A are, in order of enrollment: CAM (111, 274th largest) Audubon (107, 281st largest), Griswold (95, 301st largest) and Exira-EHK (80, 314th largest).

The enrollment numbers include students from grades 9-11 from the previous school year (2019-20) for classifications in the upcoming school year (2020-21). These documents were used to create classifications and districts for the 2020 football season, announced in Februrary. Football schedules are currently being prepared for a public release later this month.


Van Meter superintendent Deron Durflinger became the newest Board of Control member.

He was elected after Humboldt’s Greg Darling, the Central District representative, resigned his position. Durflinger’s term began with last Thursday’s board meeting, and he will serve the remainder of Darling’s term – through November 2021 – and is then eligible for re-election.

To reach Brian Rathjen, send correspondence to or phone (712) 243-2624.