Delaware’s Interscholastic Athletic Association Reversal to Start Fall Sports


Emma Fannin and Scott Lucarelli

On September 8th of this year, the DIAA publicly decided to reverse their decision to push back fall sports to the winter. This is a change from their previous decision made on August 6, in which they decided to suspend all sports until December in a 5 – 2 vote. This means that winter sports would have run from December 14th to February 15th, fall sports from February 19th to April 21st, and the spring season from April 19th to June 19th. This would have resulted in the playing of sports after the graduation of most senior classes and the extension of sports into the summer.


With this new decision on September 8th, their previous statement was reversed, returning fall sports to their initial season. This was decided in a 4-3 vote. From there, the decision was approved by the Delaware Board of Education on September 17th. This board gave approval for all fall sports to start practicing on September 28th. They also announced that the start of team-to-team competition will begin on October 19th.


With this decision, the DIAA is currently strictly enforcing the presence of masks on all athletes and coaches throughout practice and games, which differs from the more lenient policies of other states that do not require masks for certain sports during games. 


However, the state is currently looking at multiple recommendations for improvement and seeing how the sports will change. DIAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) is currently considering allowing runners not to wear masks if they use staggered starts, banning megaphones, requiring advanced medical approval for students with health conditions, and only allowing one sport to practice in the gym, and enforcing 30 minutes of cleaning before the next sport can enter. The state is also considering stopping games every 15-20 minutes to allow for some mask-free breathing and hand cleaning. However, coaching will not be allowed during this time of mask free breathing. 


SMAC at this time is also suggesting that the duration of sports, specifically field hockey and soccer, be shortened. At this time, field hockey has already announced they will be enforcing four 15 minute quarters. Soccer, on the other hand, plans to stick with having two 45 minute halves even though SMAC has been recommending “three or four 20-minute periods.”


The DIAA appears to be ceaselessly enforcing this abundance of rules to ensure the safety of high school athletes all across Delaware. With these drastic changes, the upcoming sports seasons may be entirely different. However, many determined young athletes are beyond grateful to hear sports seasons are confirmed after having little to no hope of playing with the outbreak of COVID-19.