CIAC Approves Winter Sports Plan; Alternative Football Season Won't Happen

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The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has approved its proposal to move forward with a winter sports season and set the first dates for practices and games.

The first possible practice date for winter sports is Tuesday, Jan. 19 with games beginning on or after Monday, Feb. 8, according to the CIAC.

The association's board approved the plan Thursday morning.

The plan, made in consultation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, assesses each sport's risk level for COVID-19 transmission.

The only sport categorized as low-risk is swimming.

Basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, and indoor track are all categorized as moderate-risk, according to the CIAC.

Wrestling, competitive cheeer, and competitive dance are considered high-risk. Under the proposal, activities for those sports would be limited to small group conditioning and non-contact skill building activities for the entire season.

Although indoor track is considered a moderate-risk sport, DPH and the CIAC both recommend not holding large, multi-school indoor track meets through the season. It is not clear if there is an alterative to those traditional types of meets. The CIAC also recommends against any indoor track activities that involve traveling out of state or any with out-of-state teams or athletes.

Citing DPH guidelines, the CIAC said students, coaches, and officials in the low and moderate-risk sports will have to wear masks, including during games. There will be mask breaks allowed during the games. Student athletes will have to wear masks while on the sidelines, in locker rooms, while traveling, and during training. The exceptions include swimmers in a pool and gymnasts while on certain apparatus.

Twelve regular season games are allowed for girls and boys basketball, boys ice hockey, girls gymnastics and boys swimming. Boys and girls indoor track teams will only be able to practice until meets will be allowed in March.

The end of the regular season is still to be determined, but state tournaments would be held March 15-28.

Thursday's announcement also included some bad news for high school football players.

After canceling the football season in the fall, the CIAC had considered an alternative football season to be played beginning in mid-March. However, with the winter sports season pushed back, the CIAC said it would not play that alternative football season after all.

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