One of the biggest controversies in flag football this year has been with decision-making.
In particular, a number of participants in the Digicel Summer League, put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association, expressed discontent with the way rulings were made.
For those like Johann Moxam, the head coach of the Cayman Power Sport and Marine Hurricanes, the answer rests in creating a new competition.
“When decisions are made at the executive level, there are too many conflicts of interest,” Moxam said. “I understand people want to join a second flag football league as the Grand Cayman Flag Football Association is planning on adding a few men’s teams. I understand that association has been planning to add a men’s division to its Dart Women’s League.
“People are tired of the same issues week in and week out, year in and year out.”
Moxam would see Glenn Duran Jr and the Hurricanes miss out on the playoffs with a 6-6 record. The squad initially finished with a 5-6 mark after the league ruled the 25 August contest with eventual champions, the dms West Bay Hellcats, abandoned with neither squad getting credit for the victory. The Hellcats were trailing the Hurricanes 12-7 with seconds left in that game.
Two Hurricane players were ejected from that contest for unsportsmanlike conduct toward the officiating crew. The Hurricanes were especially irked at head referees Sean Glidden and Rob Duty, with a physical altercation taking place involving Glidden.
The league waffled on its decision, from ruling it a 6-0 forfeit in favour of the Hellcats to the match being abandoned to eventually awarding the victory to the Hurricanes.
Even though the league ultimately ruled in his team’s favour, Moxam is still not impressed.
“The team should stay together. We just got to get over the disappointment and regroup for next season.”
Sophia Dilbert serves as president of the Grand Cayman association. She did not address Moxam’s claim of an expanded women’s league, stating only that her group’s priority is on school kids.
“At the present time, our focus is in promoting the NFL youth programme and all efforts are being made to ensure this is a successful venture,” Dilbert said.
The association recently got approval from the NFL to form a youth inter-school league in Cayman. It is slated to form part of the athletic curriculum within local secondary schools. The aim is to boost youth participation in the sport, increase physical activity among young people and help develop a sense of school pride.
Dilbert stated the league is scheduled to start in the coming weeks. She also stated that the association was in the planning stages for the past year with most of the high schools on Grand Cayman. In the future, training camps are slated to be held with current and former NFL stars teaching American football basics.
The programme is receiving support from Dart Cayman Islands, the sponsor of the women’s league. That competition wrapped up this month, with Jahzenia Thomas’ Burger King Wolverines emerging champions for the first time.
Ultimately, many male flag football players feel changes need to be made. For Cox Colts tight-end/linebacker Rhys Ebanks, who announced his retirement this summer, the executive committee should be altered.
“My one wish, and this is for the success of the league, is we need to get players from each team to be on the board,” Ebanks said. “For example, we have a nine-member board and four players are from Cox, three from West Bay and the other two being from the Burger King Panthers and Maples Packers.
“What happens when decisions are made is that there is always the talk of bias. But the problem is, if those four from Cox and three from West Bay didn’t take the positions, we could possibly have only a three to four-member board.
“Everyone complains about the board, but in a league of over 140 people, only about 20-25 show up for the Annual General Meeting where we discuss league items and choose the board members. On a positive note, the website rocks and I encourage everyone to check out ciffa.ky.”