We heard an awful lot the past few weeks about girls competing with boys in high school wrestling.

Cassy Herkelman of Cedar Falls and Megan Black of Ottumwa became the first girls to advance to the Iowa state tournament, and Herkelman won her first-round match by forfeit when a Linn-Mar boy declined to step onto the mat with her.

We've also heard about a handful of girls playing football through the years.

That prompted some people to ask what would happen if a boy wanted to play for a girls sports team. For example, what if someone of the male persuasion wanted to play for a female volleyball team?

In Iowa, where boys volleyball is not a sanctioned sport, steps have been taken to make sure it doesn't happen. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union spells it out clearly in its rules: "Boys are not allowed to participate on an interscholastic girls team."

But it has happened in other states. A boy played for the girls volleyball team last fall in Kiski, Pa., raising the hackles of opposing teams and lifting his team from last place to first in the conference after joining the team. And it's not the first time it has happened in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

Kiski coach Ellen Toy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Thad Paunovich, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, fit in very well with her team and handled the abuse he took very well.

"Entering other gyms, it's obvious that the opposing fans are not pleased with the situation," Toy said. "They are often yelling things to Thad."

The Massachusetts Girls Volleyball Coaches Association also has addressed the situation. It has rules stipulating that boys playing on girls volleyball teams "will not be allowed to block, or attack a ball unless they take-off completely behind the attack line."

The Women's Sports Foundation, which carries a great deal of clout nationally, turns up its nose at all of this.

Its official position: "Boys should be allowed to play on a girls' team only when there is no team for boys offered in that sport, boys are under-represented with regard to total athletic opportunities, and the strength and skill levels of the boys are comparable to those of the girls."

The foundation's bylaws go on to say: "Under Title IX, boys do not have the right to participate on girls' teams in schools even when no boys' team exists because their opportunities in athletics have not historically been limited, and they are typically over-represented in athletic departments."

It's a really convoluted way of saying there's a double standard and they don't see a problem with that.


The University of Iowa last week released e-mails that were circulated among administrators and media relations types regarding the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis among members of the school's football team

There was nothing too enlightening in there except one exchange among PR people about whether a statement they were writing for football coach Kirk Ferentz was too lengthy. One of them pointed out that Ferentz's statements typically are very terse. If it was too long, people might realize Ferentz hadn't written it himself.

Not to worry, guys. We already knew Kirk wasn't writing those things himself.


It would be fun to see the girls basketball teams from Assumption and Central DeWitt meet in the Class 3A state championship game next Saturday.

However, it would not be unprecedented for two Quad-City area high school teams to meet for a state title. It has happened at least three times previously:

1989: Muscatine defeated Durant for the Iowa girls 5-on-5 basketball state title. In that era, the state held separate tournaments for teams playing 5-on-5 basketball and those still clinging to the old 6-on-6 game.

1998: Aledo defeated Rockridge 25-16 for the Illinois Class 2A football crown. Rockridge won 49-0 when the two teams met in the next-to-last game of the regular season.

2000: Muscatine defeated North Scott 5-4 to win the Iowa Class 3A softball title.


Nine Iowa football players are taking part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week, but we're betting that at least four more Hawkeyes will get a look from NFL teams.

Brett Greenwood, Jeff Tarpinian, Brett Morse and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos will at least get invited to camp. A couple of those guys could become valuable special-teams players for someone.


A Quad-Cities travel agent already is booking trips to Dublin, Ireland, for the Navy-Notre Dame football game that will be played there in 2012. Gosh, I wonder which team folks in Dublin will be rooting for in that one.