The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, in a revised fall sports plan released last night, intends to go forward with the season, for now, with the start of games pushed back a week, until Oct. 1.
However, as the CIAC has emphasized throughout what has become a weeks-long process, the situation remains fluid and will depend on health metrics.
“We are going to provide every opportunity to engage in sports if it is safe,” CIAC executive direction Glenn Lungarini said in an hour-long press conference this morning.
The CIAC, despite recommendations to the contrary from the state Department of Public Health, intends to attempt to play football and girls volleyball. It will follow for now its position on football, which as stated in the revised plan reads it “continues to hold the belief that current Connecticut COVID metrics support playing 11 v 11 full contact football, in accordance with the ReOpen CT Guidelines for non-interscholastic sports. It is CIAC’s intention to make every effort possible to provide Connecticut students athletes with a safe 11 v 11 football season.”
There are thresholds to go forward. There will be low-risk conditioning and non-contact sport specific skill activities, in cohorts of 10, from Saturday through Sept. 13. If the COVID metrics allow, moderate-risk small cohorts of 10, with limited contact, will begin for a week. On Sept. 20 a decision will be made whether to progress with high-risk practices.
The DPH has recommended that football and girls volleyball be moved to the spring. It said playing 7×7 football and outdoor volleyball would move both sports into the moderate-risk category. The CIAC recognized that playing volleyball outdoors was not logistically feasible.
While training in all sports will continue under its revised plan, the CIAC said it will “continue seek clarification from DPH on the inconsistency of this recommendation given that it restricts interscholastic sport opportunities that are otherwise permissible, for the same student population, in the private sector. Furthermore, the CIAC continues to seek an understanding from DPH on the specific quantitative COVID data it is using to support its qualitative position on volleyball and football.”
Under its initial plan, released a month ago, the CIAC set up an abbreviated and regionalized schedule, with games running from Sept. 24 until Nov. 15, with the chance for football teams to play eight games and teams in all other sports 14.
“The whole 7 on 7 thing was not really going to get us anywhere so I was hoping that DPH, clearly they are not the ones in tune with athletics and I was hoping that the CIAC could speak volumes above that because of what they do for student-athletes as opposed to what DPH does professionally,” Ridgefield football coach Kevin Callahan said.