New Proposal for The Realignment of Football Divisions


Scott Lucarelli, Staff Reporter

In early November, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) held their monthly board meeting in which a new and unconventional topic was discussed. The new topic was the possible realignment of football divisions for the state of Delaware which is being pushed by athletic directors from all over the state. This new proposal would change the current set up of football from a simple 2 division league dependent on school size, to a complex three tier structure that also consists of 2 divisions dependent on not only enrollment but past results of the team.

This new proposal appeared as a result of Salesianum School’s threat of legal action against the DIAA in October because of a lack of scheduled games. Due to the DIAA making a late decision of the start of fall sports, Salesianum football had trouble finding meaningful games to fill their schedule with only 18 Division 1 schools in the state. The low number of Division 1 schools resulted in a lack of possible games being played and caused Salesianum to only schedule 3 games before the start of the season. President Brendan Kennealey of the DIAA expressed frustration with  Salesianium’s  problem and stated that “The DIAA, or even the football committee, has absolutely no authority to dictate to any conference what they put out as far as their schedules go” and he advised that Salesianium to turn to out of state games because they are a non-conference school.

To solve the problem, the state recommended a three tier system of AAA, AA, and A schools broken up into two divisions. Schools will be placed in a division ranging from the best tier being AAA and the lowest tier being A. A formula will decide where schools will be placed in this system with 50% of the score based on enrollment, 30% of the score based on the team’s performance in the past 3 years, and 20% of the score dependent on the team’s success in the past 5 years. 

Based on these requirements, with the current proposal, Archmere is predicted to be in the AA tier for Division 1 which would completely dismantle the established and proven Diamond State Conference that Archmere football currently resides in. This would occur as a result of the dismissal of all previous conferences and divisions with the establishment of 3 divisions instead of 2 and a complete realignment of all conferences into just 2 per division that contain a greater number of schools.

Although the new plan intrigues both players and coaches, there are still many uncertainties and questions about the proposed plan. Many people are wondering about how a state championship will be decided; will it be the champion of the tier of a specific division or will the winners of the 2 divisions of the same tier play each other for the championship? The DIAA has announced that non-division games will still occur to complete teams’ schedules. 

Still many football players have expressed concerns about a possible loss in big rivalry games to schools like St. Marks and Delaware Military Academy who will be placed in Division 2. Senior Archmere varsity player Matt Dellose stated that “Games against St. Marks and DMA are always the biggest and most exciting games on the schedule which pull out the most fans”. A loss of these big rivalry games could result in a lack of school spirit and a decreased attendance at football games which would end up causing more problems than the proposal would solve as a possible result of large rivalry games being lost each year.

It is important to remember that this is only a proposal for football and there is no way of telling whether or not it will be approved. Since the new plan was proposed no vote has been taken, but if approved then the changes will be implemented as soon as 2021. If implemented, there would most likely be a 2 year trial period and when it ends the board will convene and decide whether or not it is a permanent solution to the divisions and conference problems.

This new realignment of football divisions and conferences for football in Delaware raises lots of questions, but it will certainly change the football experience by raising the level of competition Archmere will face and possibly strip us of the biggest rivalry games of the year.