DIAA looking at spring sports options

DOVER — School administrators didn’t like having to end one high school sports season prematurely.

They’re certainly not interested in stopping another season before it even begins.

At a board of directors meeting last Friday, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association kicked around some ideas of what a shortened spring sports season would look like.

Of course, any scenario has to begin with students going back to school. At the moment, Delaware schools aren’t supposed to return until at least May 15 due to the threat of the coronavirus.

The length of any season would then depend on how far into June schools are willing to compete.

Schools in the state are mandated to close by June 30. But schools also graduate at different times.

Perhaps the most concrete thing to come out of the discussion was that the DIAA plans to send out a survey to its member schools to come up with some parameters on those and other questions.

“The governor’s office, the department of education and DIAA really all are looking at ways to salvage the season, especially for seniors,” said Caesar Rodney superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald, a DIAA board member. “We know how disappointing it is.

“It was heartbreaking when we had to cancel the basketball tournaments after those kids played their hearts out all year, not to be able to finish it up.”

Another big question would be the student-athletes’ physical conditioning if they returned to competition. As things stand now, they have to have a week of practice before they can compete.

There are also rules limiting how many games a team can play in a week.

And what about state tournaments? DIAA board members discussed whether it would be fair to award state titles after such an abbreviated season.

Leaders from the state’s four scholastic conferences, including the Henlopen Conference, have also been brainstorming schedule ideas.

“There was a lot of good discussion,” said Fitzgerald. “(But) there was no conclusion. There was nothing decided.

“Student-athlete safety is probably the big thing. Some are going to be able to be in better shape than others. Students who are going to go on to play in college or going to do something else suddenly find themselves injured. That would be a tragedy, too. It’s a tough situation but we are still trying to hold out hope.”