The Rationale of Sanctioning: Interscholastic athletic programs serve educational goals. To this end, schools have an obligation to conduct inquiries about events in which their students may participate.  In order to perform their “inquiry and oversight” functions fairly and efficiently, the NFHS has developed event – sanctioning procedures in support of our member state associations on behalf of their member schools:

  • Sanctioning enhances the likelihood that events will adhere to reasonable and detailed criteria which meets the specific requirements of a state association.
  • Sanctioning serves to promote sound regulation of the conditions under which students and teams compete.
  • Sanctioning is a means of encouraging well-managed rules and regulations.
  • Sanctioning adds an element of “due diligence” that encourages compliance with state associations’ rules and regulations.
  • Sanctioning protects the welfare of the student-athletes.
  • Sanctioning protects the existing programs sponsored by member schools and thereby promotes the opportunity for larger number of student-athletes to gain the benefits of interscholastic competition.
  • Sanctioning helps reduce the abuses of excessive competition.
  • Sanctioning promotes uniformity in obtaining approval for events.
  • Sanctioning helps protect students from exploitation.
  • Interstate and International sanctioning at the NFHS level promotes financial transparency and equivalency of treatment of participating high schools.

Events (tournaments/meets) that required DIAA Sanctioning:

  • Any event (tournament/meet) that involves only DIAA member schools (4 or more) and is sponsored by a DIAA member school (not a school’s booster club). Complete the “DIAA Member Schools Sanction” application.
  • Any event (tournament/meet) that involves only DIAA member schools (4 or more) and is not sponsored by a DIAA member school. Complete the “DIAA Member Schools Sanction” application.
  • Any event (tournament/meet) that involves a school(s) from states that border Delaware and is sponsored by a DIAA member school. Complete the “Interstate Sanction” application.

DIAA Sanctioning Criteria:

Tournaments/meets shall be sanctioned in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. The event shall not be for determining a regional or national champion.
  2. The event shall be organized, promoted, and conducted by and all profits go to a nonprofit organization. Involvement by a commercial organization shall be limited to providing financial support.
  3. Non-symbolic competition awards shall have an aggregate retail value of no more than $150.00 per recipient and shall require the prior approval of the Executive Director.
  4. The event organizer shall submit a list of out-of-state schools which have been invited to participate and such schools shall be subject to approval by the Executive Director.
  5. Out-of-state schools which are not members of their state athletic association shall verify in writing that their participating athletes are in compliance with their state athletic association’s eligibility rules and regulations.
  6. The event organizer shall not accept financial support or sell advertising to companies involved in the production or distribution of alcohol and tobacco products.
  7. The event organizer shall comply with all applicable NFHS sanctioning requirements.
  8. Non-school event organizers shall submit a full financial report to the DIAA office within ninety (90) calendar days of the completion of the event.

Events that require NFHS Sanctioning:

  1. Any interstate event involving two (2) or more schools which is co-sponsored by or titled in the name of an organization outside the high school community (e.g. university, a theme park, an athletic shoe/apparel company.)
  2. Events in non-bordering states if five (5) or more states are involved
  3. Events in non-bordering states if more than eight (8) schools are involved. Non-bordering events with eight teams do not require NFHS sanctioning unless there is an outside or title sponsor involved.
  4. Any event involving two (2) or more schools that involves a team from a foreign country. The host school should complete the international sanction application (the exceptions to this rule are Canada and Mexico which are considered “bordering states” by NFHS.)

Any tournament/meet which must be sanctioned by the NFHS must also be sponsored or co-sponsored by a member school of the host state athletic association. In order to be considered a co-sponsor of a tournament/meet, a member school must be legitimately involved in the planning, promotion, and conduct of the event. A school would be accorded co-sponsor status provided the following conditions were satisfied:

  1. The superintendent must approve, in writing, the school’s request for co-sponsor status and such documentation must accompany the completed sanction form submitted to the DIAA office.
  2. The principal, an assistant principal, the athletic director, or the head varsity coach in that sport must attend the tournament planning meetings and must have both voice and vote in any decisions related to the tournament.
  3. The school must be assigned responsibilities commensurate with their co-sponsor status, e.g. site management, in which case the school would be responsible for hiring and supervising site personnel, arranging for security, providing for crowd control, etc. as if the tournament/meet was being conducted on school premises.
  4. The principal, an assistant principal, or the athletic director must agree to investigate any complaints from the participating schools and/or state athletic associations.
  5. If applicable, the school must be listed as an additional insured on the event liability insurance policy.

Member School Responsibility for Out of State/Non-bordering Events:

Schools interested in competing in events beyond state borders should ensure that the sponsoring institution or agency has made application to their home association for sanctioning and that DIAA member schools are listed as participants.


Participation in a non-sanctioned event shall result in the offending school being assessed a $100.00 fine. A second offense shall result in a $250.00 fine and loss of eligibility to participate in sanctioned events for the remainder of the sport season. A third offense shall result in a $500.00 fine and loss of eligibility to participate in sanctioned events for the remainder of the school year.  In accordance with Reg. 1006. Additional Penalties, the Executive Director or the DIAA Board of Directors may impose additional penalties including suspension from the state championship in that sport.