The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board of Control, in its second meeting in 48 hours, voted today to pause the start of football conditioning by seven days — and all sports — until Aug. 24, so it can meet next week with the state Department of Health, which yesterday recommended moving football and girls volleyball to the spring and delaying the start of all other fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision ends a tumultuous week but still leaves dangling the status of fall sports and whether seasons scheduled to begin Sept. 24 will be played, delayed or moved to the spring.
The Board of Control voted on Wednesday to follow through with a plan released on July 30 to play a regionalized and abbreviated fall sports season. Football conditioning in cohorts of 15 was set to begin on Monday.
Whatever the CIAC ultimately decides may be a moot point. Earlier today the city of Bridgeport chose to follow the DPH’s recommendations and not allow its schools to play football or girls volleyball this fall. That came on the heels of the city of New Haven making the same decision with football.
Bridgeport Central is a member of the FCIAC and Warren Harding and Bassick are part of a region in several sports other than football with league schools this fall.
Several sources said they expect many if not all school districts in the state to follow the DPH’s recommendation.
The status of fall sports took a rollercoaster ride this week. The CIAC football committee recommended on Monday by a 9-1 vote to postpone the season until the spring. Two days later, after the committees for all other fall sports decided to follow the CIAC’s schedule, the Board of Control somewhat surprisingly voted unanimously to go forward with the fall plan for all sports, including football.
Then the DPH yesterday sent its letter to the CIAC.
“It has been really tough on me but it has been so much rougher on my kids,” said Wilton football coach EJ DiNunzio, who led his team last season to the state playoffs for the first time in 24 years, of this week’s changing events. “When we first heard we were going to be back on schedule August 17 I had two of my guys call me, both of them in tears they were so excited. I had to reach out to them yesterday when I heard the news that the DPS had recommended pushing it back and I could just hear in their voices their hearts sunk.
“Some of these guys need to go out and perform in order to possibly gain a scholarship. They need football. Now, if we do push it to the spring, it will still give them the foresight to say I still have a season and I’m going to work hard up until that start date and I think it will be fine. I just didn’t want it to be no football, that would have been devastating.”