CIAC to proceed with fall sports despite DPH recommendations

CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini announced on Wednesday the Board of Control’s decision to stick with 2020 Fall Sports Plan as announced on July 30.

This, despite the recommendation of the CIAC football committee, which includes of principals, coaches, ADs, and advisors who voted 9-1 earlier in the week to move the football season to spring 2021.

Also, the CIAC’s decision was made before the State Health Dept sent a letter on Thursday, Aug 13, penned by acting commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, advising them to postpone football to the spring because it is classified ‘high risk’ by the National Federation of High Schools. Girls volleyball, an indoor sport considered ‘moderate risk,’ was also recommended to be moved to spring.

“Full-contact football is unique among the fall interscholastic sports in our state in its level of risk to student-athletes for the person-to-person spread of infectious respiratory droplets,” Gifford said in her letter to CIAC. “As you are aware, most of the collegiate conferences and many state high school interscholastic sport organizations have already postponed or canceled football for the upcoming season.”

The Dept of Health recommended limiting a fall program to lower-risk sports and waiting until after students start the academic year and acclimate to social distancing and mask wearing. They also recommended limiting the total number of games and limiting use of locker rooms. Further they recommended CIAC consider postponing or canceling indoor moderate risk sports, i.e. girls volleyball.

CIAC’s decision is to proceed with fall football, along with soccer, field hockey, cross country, girls volleyball and girls swimming.

“At this time we feel that the health metrics in Connecticut have not changed,” Lungarini said on Wednesday. “We remain committed to looking at this on a fluid basis, evaluating information as it comes in.”

Lungarini said all stakeholders had collaborated, and the medical advisory group was consulted, and CIAC Board of Control felt the Covid metrics in Connecticut, were favorable and had not changed since they approved the plan on July 30. Their vote was 17-0.

“That it is safe to play to play all sports as scheduled with mitigating factors in place, including football,” he added.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), who is head coach at Berlin High School and Deputy House Minority leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford), who owns the CT Sportsplex, release joint statement in support of the decision.

“I fully support the CIAC’s decision to move ahead with fall high school sports season and give our kids the chance to compete this school year,” Aresimowicz said. “We all acknowledge this remains a fluid situation that demands flexibility, yet with the strict safety protocols that are being put in place, combined with the best health statistics and metrics of any state in the country, Connecticut is a place where this can work safely if we all follow the guidelines.”

Football season will start with practices in cohorts of 15 beginning August 17, followed by a six-to-eight game season to start Sept. 24. Teams have been conditioning in small groups since July.

Click here for the full CIAC fall plan.

See also:

CIAC Announces Fall Sports Plan July 31, 2020