Governor John Carney's recent decision to "pause" youth sports in Delaware will lead to shorter winter seasons, but even more uncertain endings.
The DIAA Board of Directors voted Thursday to reduce the maximum amount of games/meets in basketball and wrestling to 14, and swimming to 12, when competition potentially resumes on January 14.
Those numbers were chosen as the three-week delay makes the winter regular season just seven weeks, and with a 48-72 hour break between games suggested by the DIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the plan is generally for two games a week.
There still remain hurdles to clear in each of DIAA's winter sports.
Indoor Track was permitted to be moved down to club status, with the intention to give schools the chance to potentially produce outdoor track meets during the winter, with the chance that an indoor meet could be scheduled if out-of-state travel to an indoor track facility would be allowed.
At present, Delaware youth teams are barred from competing in multi-team competitions, and the state of Delaware does not have an indoor track with Tower Hill using their track for temporary classrooms.
Swimming is still looking for a home, although Swimming Committee Chairman Mike Hart said they are looking at various options, including a "virtual" state meet, or perhaps going one event at a time to minimize crowding.
Basketball and Wrestling are judged as moderate-to-high risk sports, and the Delaware Division of Public Health has not officially signed off on their competition plans.
DPH liaison Dana Carr told the Board that after Governor Carney placed the three-week break on winter competition, the urgency to get those sports approved was lessened while dealing with capacity issues in other areas.
"They were really trying to work through some other high-priority items in the last week or two, and with the pause, that allowed them a little more time. I think they want ya'll operational as soon as it's safe and healthy to do so."
Donna Polk provided an update on COVID spread, and said that 75 games were lost in the fall to quarantines, with several others having to be rescheduled. Every DIAA sport, and also at least one cheerleading squad, were affected.
Carr said the lack of greater spread has been a positive.
"If we are seeing transmissions on teams, those are really happening off the field, from best we can tell. Which is great and speaks very well to what is happening in sports themselves, but we have concerns about off-the-field, pre-game, post-game activities like carpooling."
While making no decisions, the DIAA Board did discuss their next move after a controversial week of tournament bracketing.
The field hockey, volleyball, and football tournaments were all altered when a team who played less than the minimum required games due to COVID quarantines were permitted to play in the tournament.
At one point, Doug Thompson attempted to file a motion to cancel the football tournament because Hodgson was left out, but his bowl game proposal did not receive a second, nor any further consideration.
The board voted to leave it up to the sport committees to meet before their next board meeting in early January on a point system and championship structure.
One proposal in basketball was to create a truly open tournament, so that if a team did have to miss games, the worst that could happen is potentially an altered seeding.
Spring sports did not receive much attention, other than several board members interest in not delaying their start after losing their entire 2020 campaign.
Dr. Bradley Bley did present the board with an unofficial survey of athletic trainers, athletic directors, and DSMAC committee members on a pair of topics.
One question was whether wrestling should be moved to the spring, with the hope indoor restrictions would be more favorable for competition. 36% athletic directors approved, 83% of SMAC committee members, and 70% of ATs.
Moving indoor track to outdoor only received 74% support from ADs, 85% from athletic trainers, while SMAC was 50/50.
Finally, during public comment, Danielle Moffett, the wife of Hodgson head coach Frank Moffett, took the committee to task over the football committee's decision to consider Delmar, despite their four games, which led to the bonus-point chain reaction of Sussex Central getting into the tournament over Hodgson.
"I question your ability to be impartial and effective when putting on your school hat. I can not, and we can not, trust a committee that misuses its power so recklessly. I would challenge you to regain the trust of Delawareans, and start by each of you taking a really good look in the mirror and decide if you really are still the right person for this job. Can you be a person of integrity, can you represent all schools and athletes? You must do better. Changes are necessary. What I'm asking for you to do in the future is use your position for good, your privilege for good, your title for good, and your power for good."