CHESHIRE - As it turns out, there will be high school sports this fall in Connecticut after all.
Despite Monday’s 9-1 vote by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference football committee to push the sport’s season to the spring of 2021 amid coronavirus concerns, the CIAC will move forward with its original plan the organization announced Wednesday.
Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia have opted to move their fall sports seasons to the spring: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Hawai’i and North Carolina, which became the latest to do so.
“The CIAC Board of Control elected at this time to continue forward with the fall sports plan as presented on July 30,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said in a statement. “At this time, we feel the health metrics in Connecticut have not changed. We remain committed to looking at this on a fluid basis, evaluating information as it comes in. Again, we understand our decision today at 3 o’clock that was made to move forward with fall sports as planned, including football, could change if new information comes out from DHP or other medial advisors at 5 o’clock tonight. We remain fluid, but at this time we feel it’s appropriate to move forward as planned.”
That plan delayed the start of all fall sports, including football, to Sept. 24. The football season was reduced to six regular season games and a maximum of two postseason games, with all competition being regionalized to limit travel. Football teams have been practicing since July in outdoor workouts and small cohorts, and those cohorts are set to increase to 15 students on Aug. 17.
The first practice dates for cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming and volleyball are set to begin Aug. 27.
Monday’s vote by the football subcommittee fueled speculation that football, along with the rest of the fall sports, would be pushed back. But only the football committee, which includes New Britain Athletic Director Len Corto and Chris Cassin of Bristol Public Schools, advised moving its sport. There were also concerns whether student-athletes who play multiple sports would be forced to pick between one or the other, as well as safety concerns regarding playing football in the spring and turning around to play in the fall.
“The Board [of Control] discussed at length any change in covid data between approval of the plan and today,” the CIAC said in a statement. “Based on the input from medical advisors and the continued positive covid numbers in CT while sports are being played, the Board believes it is appropriate to move forward with all fall sports, at this time.
Other points from Wednesday’s meetings included the CIAC’s position on fan/spectator attendance in which the organization reiterated the point that fans should not be allowed at interscholastic contests or practices.
“We understand the complexities of individual districts who use public fields and that the ultimate decision rests with the district, however, the CIAC believes that prohibiting fan/spectator attendance aligns best with the goals of education-based athletics,” the CIAC said.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com