The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Commission Tuesday breathed life into the possibility of having a high school football season at some point during the school year.
The CIAC announced it will establish an alternative season in the second semester for full-contact 11-on-11 football and any other sports that don't complete at least 40% of their games during the regularly scheduled season.
The alternative season would begin with conditioning on February 22 and games would be played from March 19 through April 17. The alternative season would still be contingent on COVID-19 metrics that align with guidelines from the Department of Public Health, according to the CIAC.
Creating an alternative second semester season would adjust the schedules for traditional winter and spring sports as well.
The winter sports season would begin with conditioning on Nov. 23 and end with the CIAC Tournament Feb. 8-21.
The spring sports season would begin with conditioning on April 11 with conditioning and games would begin on April 23. Students who would still be participating in the special alternative season would not begin with a new sport during the conditioning period.
Football coaches will be allowed to have contact with their players to conduct low-to-moderate-risk school-sponsored football activities through Nov. 21, according to the CIAC.
The announcement complicates the options for teams or players considering playing for an independent football league this fall. While the CIAC is leaving the final decision up to schools, the organization is not recommending the student-athletes play in the independent leagues this fall.
It is important to note that there has never been a scenario in the sport of football where a student-athletes could have the option of playing for an outside team during the fall season. In every CIAC sanctioned sport an athlete may not participate on a school team and outside team in the same sport during the same season. With the postponement of football until later in the 2020-2021 school year, the CIAC will offer two football opportunities. The first will be a fall season ending November 21st in which teams may participate in low to moderate risk school-based activities. A school team participating in higher risk activities does so against the recommendation of the CIAC and DPH. The CIAC is aware of independent football teams that are forming to offer a limited number of high school aged players a full contact fall league. The CIAC does not endorse play in such in leagues. In the interest of student-athlete safety, the CIAC recommends the following guidance to member schools for players who may participate on an independent football team this fall:
- A school should be aware of the potential for overuse injury if a student-athlete is participating in both school-based low to moderate risk football activities and non-school based high-risk independent leagues. The CIAC does not endorse simultaneous participation, however, the ultimate decision to allow dual participation is at the discretion of the school/district. To avoid the potential for overuse injuries a student-athlete should not exceed the training that is experienced during a “normal” fall football season.
- It is recommended that football experiences not exceed a schedule of 5 practice days per week with a duration of 2 hours per practice, 1 game per week, and one recovery/conditioning day per week. If a student-athlete is participating in both school-based activities and independent experiences, the school should monitor the student’s activities as a preventative measure against overuse injuries.
- Due to CIAC’s postponement of high-risk full contact football this fall, student-athletes have not participated in the “normal” training progression of heat acclimatization while wearing helmets and pads, nor have they engaged in the “normal” progression of skill work leading up to game speed full contact play. Therefore, it is recommended that student-athletes and their parents be advised that the likelihood of overuse injuries from participation in high risk full contact football, or at least those to some extent caused by not having had a preseason, occurring this fall are high.