Judge William Chandler rejected the Milford School District's lawsuit against the Henlopen Conference July 2, guaranteeing that Milford High School's sports teams will move up to the Henlopen North and Division I for the next two years. 


"I've found that there is no merit (to the lawsuit) and this court will not entertain it," he said. 


 


 

 

Judge William Chandler rejected the Milford School District's lawsuit against the Henlopen Conference today, guaranteeing that Milford High School's sports teams will move up to the Henlopen North and Division I for the next two years.

"I've found that there is no merit (to the lawsuit) and this court will not entertain it," he said. 

Milford was scheduled to move up from Division II athletics to Division I beginning this fall, after it narrowly became the seventh-largest high school in the Henlopen Conference. However, school officials argued that students in the district's Intensive Learning Center, for children with severe physical, learning or behavioral problems, shouldn't count toward the total population, which would have dropped MHS back into Division II.

Chandler said his main reason to dismiss the suit was because it wasn't the court's role to intervene. 

"It's long been the policy of Delaware courts not to entertain suits concerning the affairs of an unincorporated, voluntary organization," he said. He added that while it's possible that there could be an exception to that policy in dire circumstances, "this is not one of those exceptions."

Although it's an organization that includes every public high school south of Smyrna, the Henlopen Conference is not a government entity itself, and it's not incorporated with the state. 

Chandler added that even if he'd decided to step into the dispute, he would have ruled against Milford, based on both the facts of the case and the district's decision to wait five months after the conference made its move to file a lawsuit.

Glen Stevenson, athletics director for Milford, said the district would not contest the change any farther. 

"That's that," he said. "That's why you come to the court - they make a rule, and then you live by it."

Stevenson said he's not worried about the high school's chances in Division I competition. The Bucs won five state championships in 2008-2009, and three — football, wrestling and boys' track — were Division II titles. The softball tournament involved both Division I and Division II schools, while competition cheerleading is not a DIAA sport and does not follow the league's divisional setup. 

"We're all scheduled," he said.  "We feel that we can stack up whether we're playing in the Southern Division, the Northern Division, Blue Hen, wherever. That, to us, was never an issue."