SCRANTON, Pa. — Chuck Dailey knows a thing or two about high school sports in the Poconos. The former East Stroudsburg North football coach is now the school’s Athletic Director. He’s also heavily involved with both District XI and the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, but the pandemic brings more questions than answers.
"What has happened – unfortunately because this is so unprecedented – there is no blue print for this," Dailey said via Zoom. "I think there are a lot of people who are looking and waiting for guidance that in some instances comes and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Following the release of the PIAA’s Return to Competition plan, Dailey and the rest of the EPC officials announced their intention to postpone the start of contact sports – that includes football, soccer and field hockey – a delay that would push the start of those seasons back to October.
”Of course we want sports to go on. That’s what we do," Dailey explained. "I think what we all have to do as individual conferences is take the guidance that’s put out by the governor and the PIAA and tailor something that’s going to fit us."
Six of the league’s 18 schools are local – Pleasant Valley, Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg North, East Stroudsburg South, Pocono Mountain East and Pocono Mountain West. The rest of the schools are in the Lehigh Valley, where the virus numbers are higher.
"The infection numbers are different depending where you are in the state," Dailey said. "This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation. If you happen to be in a conference where your area is relatively unaffected – I’m not really sure where that is or if it even exists – but your decision-making process will be different than those of us that have been impacted a little bit on a higher level."
So given how impacted the area is, Dailey believes his conference is taking the proper initiative.
"It’s a great source of pride in a very difficult time because the collaborative effort that has taken place between the athletic directors, the coaches, the school boards, the superintendents, everyone has rolled up their sleeves and have been working for what’s best for our kids," Dailey said. "So, I’m incredibly proud of how the EPC has handled things."
The EPC hopes to finalize the revised start to the seasons on Tuesday.