Please refer to the following policies and guidelines for all IGHSAU-sanctioned sports.

Anonymous Correspondence

Anonymous communication received by the IGHSAU shall be forwarded to the school administrator of the school in question by the IGHSAU staff, with no further action taken unless a violation is reported by the member school. Anonymous callers shall be informed that the IGHSAU staff has no authority to act upon anonymous calls, emails or letters.


It is the expectation of the Board of Directors that each school, coach and participant fully complete any contest, match or game sanctioned by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. Any school, coach or participant who compromises this expectation by failing to complete play, withdrawing or otherwise forfeiting prior to the completion of a competition shall be subject to sanction, including suspension for up to one calendar year.

Holiday Participation

Interscholastic competition is prohibited between December 25 and January 1. Practices and scrimmages are permitted during this time.

Membership Policy

IGHSAU By-Laws: Article I: Membership and Dues

Section 1. All senior and junior high schools in the state desiring membership or associate membership in the IGHSAU may make application to the Board of Directors. Application for membership is subject to approval by the Board of Directors. Membership shall be for the year July 1 to June 30. Membership expires at midnight of June 30 of each year. Following is the procedure that will be utilized by the IGHSAU each school year:

Open Enrollment - Bullying & Harassment

281.36.15(4) Open enrollment transfer rule. A student in grades 9 through 12 whose transfer of schools had occurred due to a request for open enrollment by the student’s parent or guardian is ineligible to compete in interscholastic athletics, during the first 90 school days of transfer except that a student may participate immediately if the student is entering grade 9 for the first time and did not participate in an interscholastic athletic competition for another school during the summer immediately following eighth grade. The period of ineligibility applies only to varsity level contests and competitions. (“Varsity” means the highest level of competition offered by one school or school district against the highest level of competition offered by an opposing school or school district.) The student will become eligible at 4:00 PM on the 90th day. This period of ineligibility does not apply if the student:

“j. if the district of residence determines that the pupil was previously subject to a founded incident of harassment or bullying as defined in section 280.28 while attending school in the district of residence.”

Non-public school students are not provided relief under this exception since the law only pertains to students who open enroll from the resident public school to another public school district. 

IGHSAU management requests that the Board of Directors grant the Executive Director of the IGHSAU the authority to use discretion to recommend that students entering or leaving a private school have immediate eligibility under 36.15(3) a. 9 of the General Transfer Rule in cases when there is a founded case of bullying and harassment.

Situations involving the General Transfer Rule when there is a case of founded bullying and harassment may be handled between the Executive Director and Board via email to streamline the process. All other cases under this exception would continue to be heard by the Board as appeals.

Practice Policy

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Board of Directors approved a policy change at its November 14, 2015, meeting to allow boys to participate in a girls’ practice in all sanctioned sports. This is totally subject to each local school district approval. Each school district can establish their own procedure and protocol of whether to allow or not allow. This policy change is effective at all 7–12 grade levels.

The initial concern centered around the sports of cross country, swimming and diving, bowling, track and field, tennis, and golf where practice facilities were shared, and many times the school had the same coach for both boys and girls. The other four sports (volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer) were of greater concern with regard to participation and risk of injury.

The general feeling was that this should be decided locally. Each district will need to determine whether they choose to allow boys to be involved in the girls’ practice and if any limitations will be included. Topics of eligibility, good conduct, academic checks, etc. will need to be addressed. The IGHSAU is requiring a physical be on file with the local school in order to participate.

It is important to recognize that the boys will not be considered as a part of the team roster. They may only be utilized in a practice setting, never allowed to formally compete or scrimmage against any opposing team or player.


Scrimmages between member schools shall be permitted between the date of first legal practice and the final day of State Tournament play. Teams may travel for scrimmages, providing such is effected without loss of school time. 

If a school is scrimmaging at an out-of-state school, the scrimmage rules of that state shall apply. Iowa scrimmage rules will apply for scrimmages held in Iowa. A scrimmage shall be defined as that which takes place between member schools at one site on one calendar day, as well as established definition relating to the mandatory absence of scorekeeping and spectator charge. In order for a player to be charged with a scrimmage, she must have participated in the scrimmage.  

High School Graduates Practicing with High School Teams

High school graduates cannot practice with or against a high school team, or a student representing his/her high school team, during the given sport season. Only coaches, students in good standing at the school, or students from another school participating through an enrollment option provided for within the rules can participate in a school’s practice sessions. This rule does not prohibit high school students from participating with or against high school graduates through the Non-school Team Participation Rule (36.15(7).  This rule does not prohibit the local school district from allowing high school graduates to use their facilities for practice purposes, but not for the purpose of practicing with or against a high school team, or a member of a high school team, during the given sport season.  Scholarship Rule 36.15(2)h prohibits high school students from participating, and/or training, with or against college athletes who are representing their collegiate institution or as part of an event sanctioned or sponsored by a collegiate institution. Nothing in the rules prohibits a high school student from participating in a one-time tryout with or against members of a college team with permission from the member school’s administration and the respective collegiate institution’s athletic administration.