CIAC Delays Start of Winter Sports
While teams and leagues try to complete the fall season, the chances of playing high school sports during the winter remain in question as we head deeper into November.
On Nov. 5, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) announced that it is delaying the start of winter season by indefinitely postponing the first day of practices, which had been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21. The first date of the regular season, which was slated to be Monday, Dec. 7, is effectively pushed back as well. The CIAC’s decision comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise both across the country and in the state.
The CIAC said that it’s awaiting guidance from the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH) before it makes any additional decisions regarding the potential start of a winter season. The CIAC Board of Control meets Tuesday, Nov. 17 to discuss any DPH recommendations regarding winter sports.
“We appreciate the continued consideration DPH is giving to our conversations,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini stated in a press release.
A few hours after the CIAC’s announcement, Governor Ned Lamont announced that all high-risk sports are to be stopped at least through the end of the year. This includes competitive cheerleading, dance, and wrestling, which are three sports contested during the high school winter season. It also includes 11-on-11 tackle football, which was canceled by the CIAC this fall, even though several teams have been competing in independent leagues throughout the past few weeks.
Lamont also said that athletes who participate in medium-risk sports such as basketball and ice hockey during the winter season would be required to wear masks while competing.
The impact of coronavirus on high school sports in Connecticut dates back to the 2019-’20 winter season, which was postponed during the middle of the State tournaments as COVID-19 was on the verge of being declared a pandemic. The entire spring season was later canceled.
After a few delays and with various restrictions in place, the 2020 fall campaign got underway on Oct. 1, albeit without the traditional football season. The sports that are competing have played shortened schedules and will not be participating in State tournaments or championships, although several conferences are in the middle of holding postseason competitions. Numerous teams around the state have had games either canceled or postponed as a result of positive COVID-19 cases in their respective high schools.
As of press time, there were 78,125 people in Connecticut who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including 4,671 fatalities. Connecticut is 35th in the United States in the amount of total cases and 14th in total deaths.
From the period of Nov. 2 to 6, 6,918 people in Connecticut were diagnosed with COVID-19, marking the most in a week since April and more than in the entire month of September. Last week, the U.S. recorded a record number of daily coronavirus cases on three consecutive days from Nov. 4 to 6.