State tournaments recommended for DIAA fall sports

Many things will be different about this year’s high school fall sports season.

But it does look like the DIAA will hold state tournaments in all five sports.

On Tuesday evening, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s football committee recommended holding a pair of four-team state tourneys in December.

That means a total of only eight football teams will make this year’s playoffs compared to the 14 squads that are normally in the two fields.

Fall sports won’t start until mid-October and will play shorter schedules because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the football committee debated the tournament in an online meeting, it also appears that both the two Henlopen Conference and two Blue Hen Conference division champions will still have automatic state tournament bids.

But the committee put off making more complicated decisions about how the football state tourney point system would work. It plans to settle those questions next week.

For instance, normally a team is awarded one bonus point if an opponent finishes with seven or eight victories or two points if the opponent has nine or 10 wins. With a seven-game schedule, should bonus points be awarded, the committee asked?

And what if a team can’t play a game because of a COVID-19 outbreak? Does that count as a forfeit or a non-contest?

Football, which will begin on Oct. 23, will be limited to only seven regular-season games and then two weeks for the state tourney. With only one game being played a week, two four-team tournaments are all there is time for.

The Division I bracket usually includes six teams with eight squads in the Division II field.

The state championship games, which will be played Dec. 19, probably won’t be played at Delaware Stadium because of restrictions on the Newark campus.

The state’s other high school fall sports — boys’ soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country — have also recommended having state championships despite playing condensed schedules. The state tournaments in those sports won’t be impacted as much because they can play more than one game a week.

Just as Tuesday’s football meeting was ending, Bob Barrish Northern Delaware Football Officials Association said a number of members from his organization aren’t willing to work games until they have their safety concerns addressed. He said many of the referees are over 65.