Bridgeport public high schools have canceled the winter boys and girls basketball seasons due to COVID-19.
FCIAC commissioner Dave Schulz confirmed he heard from Bridgeport Central on Wednesday that Central, Harding and Bassick would not be competing in the FCIAC.
“The Bridgeport schools are not having any sports this winter,” Schulz said. “I feel bad for the athletes that they won’t be able to participate this winter.”
Bassick boys basketball coach Bernie Lofton confirmed the season, which was scheduled to start Jan. 25, has been shut down.
“I don’t know all of the details, but the kids are really, really hurting right now,” Lofton said. “If there is enough pressure (applied) maybe they will change their mind again. I hope so.”
Harding boys coach Lamar Kennedy said he heard the news from his players. Last he had heard on Tuesday night, the season was “on pause.” Kennedy said he has eight seniors.
“Initially, I’m very disappointed especially when the CIAC has given its blessing and the surrounding districts will continue to practice,” Kennedy said. “It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing. One student-athlete has a legitimate shot at a Division II scholarship and two more with some film, I could have gotten into Division III (programs). Without film and without a season, they may lose those opportunities.”
The FCIAC had already drawn up two divisions with Bridgeport Central, Bassick and Harding among 10 teams in the East Division for both boys and girls basketball. Schulz said it will now be just seven teams in the East Division and still eight in the West Division.
This decision doesn’t impact the other two Bridgeport schools, Kolbe Cathedral and Bullard-Havens.
Last week, Bridgeport superintendent Michael Testani said the city’s schools just reopened in hybrid form, and his focus is getting schools staff and the vulnerable population in the city vaccinated.
“At this point,” he said, “sports is not even part of the conversation,” Testani said.
The city schools each also have cheerleading and Harding has wrestling, but those sports won’t be held by any CIAC school this winter because it is listed in the higher-risk category by the state Department of Public Health.
Testani didn’t return an email request seeking comment.