The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s Board of Control met Thursday to establish further guidelines for a potential winter season, including the number of games a team will need to play to be eligible for the state tournament.
“It was solely for scheduling purposes,” CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said. “Our leagues and athletic directors need some time to put their schedules together. This does not in any way indicate that all sports are moving forward.”
Each sport’s committee will meet by the middle of next week to discuss ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and the CIAC’s Sports Medicine Committee will review those plans, Lungarini said.
“The plan is to have the process done by the next time the board meets, Nov. 10, and then determine which sports will or will not proceed. “But as you know,” Lungarini said, “things are very fluid.
“Between now and that date, if there’s a significant spike, then, if schools go to distance learning, that changes things.”
Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said the department will set up time with the CIAC to discuss winter sports. She declined to speculate on individual sports, but said there is concern over some spread of the virus in the state through athletics.
“With the spike we’re seeing…we’ll want to take a cautious approach to sports, as we did in the fall,” Gifford said.
DPH did not recommend playing 11-on-11 football, which led the CIAC last month to cancel the sport for the fall.
As the CIAC announced last month, winter contests will begin Dec. 7. Practice can begin Nov. 21, two days earlier than the initial plan. State tournaments will run through Feb. 21. A “Second Semester Alternative Season” for fall sports that weren’t able to substantially complete their seasons — most notably tackle football — is planned to follow that.
Under the CIAC’s framework for winter, no out-of-state games would be allowed, nor in-state games against non-CIAC teams. Basketball, as reported last week by Hearst Connecticut Media’s Joe Morelli, and indoor track teams wouldn’t be permitted to play outside their league. It is suggested that boys hockey and wrestling teams schedule only within their league, and non-league gymnastics and boys swimming meets would have to be virtual meets.
Basketball and hockey teams would have to play at least eight of a possible 16 games to qualify for the CIAC tournament. Gymnastics teams would need six meets of a possible 12. For wrestling, it’s seven of 14, and four of 14 for boys swimming. Indoor track teams can schedule up to 12 meets but need just one to qualify for the postseason.
Teams that didn’t reach the required number of games because of COVID-19-related reasons, but have a qualifying winning percentage, could be considered for participation on a case-by-case basis.
Teams can schedule two contests per week, leaving room for makeup games, as has been the case during the fall.
This story has been updated with comment from acting DPH commissioner Deidre Gifford.