IOWA CITY, Ia. — This summer will feel a bit different for Iowa women's basketball fans.
Maybe "empty" is a better word.
The Game Time League, a summer competition in the North Liberty Community Center for Iowa's college and college-bound women's basketball players, will not operate this year, league director Randy Larson said on KCJJ-AM.
It's been running for 16 years.
"It was fun," Kathleen Doyle told HawkCentral after confirming there would be no GTL this summer. "I think it was really cool for the fans to be able to come out and see us play."
NCAA rule changes led to the decision, according to GTL's website.
"With recent NCAA rule changes allowing more contact by college (coaches) with their players in the summer," the website reads, "and a new rule for summer leagues mandating that incoming players count in the limit of only (two) from each University team on a summer team, therefore requiring (seven) or (eight) summer league teams for all the Hawkeyes to play, it is very difficult to find enough players of college-level ability to make the league competitive enough for the Iowa players."
It doesn't appear there's a plan for an alternate league. Doyle said the Hawkeyes will simply scrimmage each other more in Carver-Hawkeye Arena during their summer session.
"So I don't think I'll notice a difference as much, but I'm sad for the fans," said Doyle, who averaged 36 points a game in last year's GTL.
The move could hurt Iowa's incoming freshmen the most. Traditionally, incoming freshmen have used the league to get acclimated to college-level basketball. A month-long preseason, of sorts, against top-level competition — against players who aren't teammates.
Doyle, Makenzie Meyer, Amanda Ollinger, Bre Cera and Alexis Sevillian all played in the GTL last year. Ollinger averaged 22.3 points and 14.8 boards; Sevillian averaged 21.3 points and 7.5 assists; Meyer averaged 18 points and 6.3 assists; Cera averaged 17.8 points and five assists; and Doyle added 5.5 rebounds to her 36 points per game.
As of now, the men's Prime Time League is still a go.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.