The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which serves as the governing body for interscholastic athletic activities in Connecticut, released a detailed plan for the potential return for high school athletics this fall.
On July 31, the CIAC released this statement.
The CIAC has released its plan for a return to interscholastic athletics this fall. A point of emphasis throughout the development of this plan is the fluid nature of planning around COVID. While sports in Connecticut have been successfully running since late June, with COVID health metrics in our state improving along the way, the CIAC understands that education-based athletics experiences differ from club, AAU, and recreational offerings. The plan was developed in consultation with the Connecticut State Medical Society Sports Medicine Committee, state officials, medical professionals, athletic trainers, superintendents, principals, athletics directors and coaches. Everyone involved in the development of the plan recognizes that it must remain fluid, and that it will be in a perpetual state of evaluation as COVID data and health metrics become available. Furthermore, while the fall sports committee included representation from many educational leaders, CIAC respects that a more detailed review by our exceptional education leaders may prompt changes as final preparations for the school year are made and more COVID information becomes available.
The plan allows for a shortened fall sports experience with regional regular-season play following an extended conditioning acclimation period. The season will end with the best available option for tournament play within regions or leagues. The goal is to allow for as many participation opportunities as possible for all teams and schools within the challenging current circumstances, and for that reason tournament experiences will not follow traditional CIAC Fall State Championship formats. Specific requirements and key dates for each sport are included in the document.
The plan indicates that 15 student-athletes was determined to be a reasonable number for coaches to work with on conditioning and skill progressions while schools return to in-person instruction. There will be a three-week progression designed to slowly reacclimate student-athletes to the physical and skill conditioning level appropriate for interscholastic athletics given the extended layoff
that athletes may have experienced since last March.
The CIAC further detailed the plan for each of the six fall sports.
Football will be allowed to return to modified practices on August 17 with full practices beginning on September 11.
Cross Country, Field Hockey, Soccer, Swimming, and Volleyball will return to modified practices on August 27 with full practices beginning on September 11.
Official regular season games/contests will start on September 24 and will be played through the end of October. Each sport, with the exception of football, will have 12 regular season contests. Football can play six games.
There remains a potential for fall tournaments/playoffs, starting in November. The CIAC will collaborate with league commissioners, athletic directors, and coaches to develop a tournament experience during the first two weeks in November. No team will be eliminated from competition during this experience to maximize the number of games each team will be able to play through the fall season.
CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini is optimistic that a shortened fall season can be played out, but said that plans could change depending on the ever-changing health landscape, “We do it with the understanding that the health metrics in the state of Connecticut are never going to be better than what they are now and we do it with the understanding that the information that we have today will change tomorrow. So, with that our plans remains fluid, we remain in a perpetual state of evaluation with this. As of today, when we approved this plan we feel that it is appropriate to reengage in all of our fall sport offerings, including football, however we have said very directly that we will continue to evaluate that and that could change at any time as information around COVID and the appropriate activities continues to be known.”
Visit ciacsports.com for the latest information regarding the return of high school sports.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin