For the first time in 16 years, Iowa women’s basketball players won’t be giving fans a summertime hint of things to come or an early look at newcomers.
Changes in NCAA rules have led to a decision by Game Time League director Randy Larson to not organize a league this summer, citing difficulties in securing enough players to field the number of teams needed to make the league viable.
In posting his decision on the league’s website, Larson indicated that the decision wasn’t easy.
“Thanks to Lisa Bluder for letting me do it, to all who attended for your appreciation and especially to the young women who played and made this old coach smile with their effort and love of the game,’’ Larson wrote.
Larson will continue to organize the men’s Prime Time League, which is holding tryouts today, has its draft scheduled for Sunday and will begin play on June 18.
In reaching his decision to not put together the Game Time League this summer, Larson cited multiple NCAA rule changes which made it difficult for the league to continue.
One of those changes mandates that incoming players will now count toward the limit of two players from each university on a summer team, something that would have required a seven- or eight-team league to provide opportunities for all Hawkeyes to play.
The Game Time League consisted of six teams last summer.
“It is very difficult to find enough players of college-level ability to make the league competitive enough for the Iowa players,’’ Larson said.
The limitations on the number of players from a single team have made it difficult for players from small-college programs to consistently complete in the league.
St. Ambrose has had several players participate over the years, but coach Krista Van Hauen said she has found more advantages to participating in a summer league hosted by Kirkwood Community College where small-college teams are allowed to participate as a team rather than being split up among other teams.
“We have 12 players forming a team in that league this summer and the benefits we get from that are substantial,’’ Van Hauen said. “They are out there playing as a team and it helps prepare us for the season.’’
Larson also indicated that a rule change at the NCAA Division I level which allows college coaches more summertime contact with their players now than when the league was first formed has changed the need for league as well, providing structured playing opportunities that didn’t exist when the Game Time League began.