The Delaware high school girls volleyball season is no longer on hold.
The Delaware Volleyball Officials Association membership approved a one-year contract Wednesday. That ended an impasse with the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association Officials Committee, which caused many volleyball matches to be postponed in the last six days.
Wilmington Christian Athletic Director Joe Thomson, who is the DIAA Officials Committee Chairman, said DVOA will begin officiating volleyball matches Thursday.
A 2 1/2 hour meeting Tuesday night led to an agreement being reached. Tim Neal, the president of DVOA, had about an hour conference call with DVOA’s executive board following the meeting that had included Tommie Neubauer, executive director of DIAA, and Michael Wagner, executive director of Delaware Association of Athletic Directors. Members of the DVOA had until 1 p.m. Wednesday to vote on the contract, and it was approved.
Ultimately, it appears the issues arose from some miscommunication, misunderstanding and confusion as to who was running the contract situation. Part of it stemmed from people in new positions and roles over the last year. For example, this was the first year that Wagner was in charge of signing the agreement on behalf of all the ADs. Previously, it was the DIAA which signed it.
“But they were advised going forward that this should be an agreement between the high schools and the officials association and not DIAA so that’s why it got so confusing,” Thomson said.
“The bottom line is, once the facts all came out and people got a chance to talk, everybody had good intentions. I’m just glad [Thursday] we can watch volleyball with our officials back.”
The initial hold up on a new deal stemmed from the DVOA’s issue with Section 10 in the contract, titled “Determination of Fees.” Neal said there are no changes for this year to Section 10, though changes in the future will be discussed. As Thomson explained, the contract DVOA signed is the exact same deal that all the other officials associations have signed.
“From the standpoint of the athletic directors, their belief is that the section is good for the officials, not just the DVOA but all officials because it basically guarantees a raise if the state gets a raise,” Neal said. “And while I personally understand and appreciate that sentiment, I’m not sure it’s legally binding as far as a one-year contract is concerned. That still has not been resolved, but basically we’re punting that issue.”
There certainly was relief Wednesday from those involved in the situation that the volleyball games are back on the schedule.
“The officials associations and the ADs really do work well together, and I think in a lot of this it was just a miscommunication,” Thomson said. “This is first stoppage they’ve ever had for officials and obviously nobody liked it. We want to get on the court and work the games just like everybody else. It was just a matter of getting the right people in the room, sitting down and making sure we had all the facts in front of us.”
Contact Meghan Montemurro at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @M_Montemurro.