The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference officially canceled its spring sports season Tuesday once Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Twitter on Tuesday morning that all school districts will remain closed and continue distance learning for the remainder of the academic year.
Connecticut was the last remaining state in the U.S. to finally cancel its spring season.
“For us, I appreciate all of the collaboration in Connecticut to exhaust every scenario before Gov. Lamont made his decision this morning,” CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said.
The spring sports are as follows: baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls outdoor track and field, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls golf and boys volleyball. This will also include what was supposed to be the final year of spring football. Lungarini said the universal start date for football will be Aug. 17.
The CIAC had already canceled its spring postseason championships on April 23 at the last CIAC Board of Control meeting. The season was going to be limited to June at best. The hope was to give the senior student-athletes some closure to their high school athletic careers.
“I am disappointed for the student-athletes, from the seniors down to the freshmen,” Southern Connecticut Conference commissioner Al Carbone said. “You only get four years in high school. There are no redshirt years. You can’t take it back. I say this as a former athlete and now a league commissioner and a parent.”
Said Staples baseball coach Jack McFarland: “I feel for our players; they worked so hard to get ready for the 2020 season, and without notice the season was postponed in March and canceled in May. I want to thank Glenn Lungarini and the CIAC for all their efforts during this trying time. We can take some solace in that it’s something that is totally out of our control and everyone is in the same boat.”
Staples was the reigning Class LL state baseball champion.
The CIAC canceled the remainder of the winter sports postseason championships on March 10, the first state to make such a move, Lungarini said. The CIAC took a lot of flak statewide over that decision.
“As emotional as this sudden close to the winter postseason was, the extended process of trying to offer a spring season was more difficult because we were trying to salvage any experience for spring sport athletes,” Lungarini said.
Cheshire softball coach Kristine Drust has been regularly conducting Zoom meetings and video workouts since March to “keep us all connected and working toward a common goal.” The Rams are the reigning SCC tournament champions.
“The finality of it for the seniors, team and staff will be very difficult and sad, but what is comforting is knowing we will have each other,” Drust said. “Having gone through something unprecedented as a team and (it) will be the most memorable Rams softball team for many more reasons than wins.”
Darien would currently be contending for its 15th state championship in boys lacrosse. Longtime head coach Jeff Brameier feels this year’s edition could have rivaled some of his great teams that went undefeated.
“The entire world has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which makes the negative feelings about the loss of our spring sport season seem somewhat petty or trivial,” Brameier said. “For my seniors, I hope that we can give them some kind of send-off worthy of all their dedication and hard work. They know that being part of Blue Wave lacrosse makes them part of a huge extended family for a lifetime.”
The Connecticut High School Coaches Association Football Committee had proposed the addition of three OTA (Organized Team Activity) days due to the elimination of spring football. The Board of Control approved it, so those are scheduled for Aug. 13-15.
These 90-minute sessions can include chalk talk, video review and walk-through teaching of drills, among other things, but no full-speed activities can be done, nor can any equipment be used.
Thursday’s Board of Control meeting will continue to discuss things like the possibility of out-of-season coaching, how conditioning will be conducted and the transfer rule eligibility for fall sports.
“The important connection to remember is CIAC sports are education-based and connected to school curriculum. We first have to get our schools back on campus with in-person curriculum instruction before we can consider beginning game play,” Lungarini said. “How the reopening phases (for the state) affect the ability to meet for conditioning and normal summer activities will provide us some initial guidelines for what summer contact will look like for CIAC schools and coaches.”