The CIAC’s postseason tournament experience will be held between Nov. 7-20. Teams can play anywhere from two to four postseason games..
But teams for all sports will remain in the same region they reside in currently for continued safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These determinations were made earlier this week when the CIAC met with league commissioners.
“We are not hosting a tournament this year as much as we would love to,” said Gregg Simon, the CIAC’s associate executive director. “It is not something we can endorse at this time. I’m sure our member schools will do what they think is best to give the student athletes that (postseason) experience. It will be a fun way to finish a season which a lot of people thought would never happen.”
Simon said leagues have until Tuesday to submit their postseason plans to the CIAC.
“If you asked anyone in August if we would get to November, I’m not sure anyone would have said yes for sure,” said South-West Conference co-commissioner Mark Berkowitz, also the athletic director at Weston. “It now looks like there is a good chance to get there. … It’s an opportunity to play for the title, a culmination. The opportunity to give teenagers some normalcy right now is awesome.”
This tournament experience will obviously not allow the traditional state tournament format. But it allows every team a chance to participate, regardless of record.
Also, teams will get a chance to play more postseason games even with a first-round loss.
The SWC will allow up to three games, depending on byes, in its divisional matchups for boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball and field hockey. Then the South region champion will face the North representative in a league championship game.
The SWC field hockey championship will be held Nov. 18, both soccer title games will be held on Nov. 19 and girls volleyball on Nov. 20, all at neutral sites to be determined.
The SCC will have just its three current region championships (two for field hockey). Tentative dates for the region finals are as follows: Nov. 14 for girls volleyball — a possible tripleheader at East Haven High, normally the site for the CIAC state finals; Nov. 14 for field hockey; and Nov. 16 and 17 for both boys and girls soccer.
The FCIAC will also have three division champions for all four sports, although no dates for the finals have been set yet.
FCIAC commissioner Dave Schulz said the league cross country meet likely will be held at Waveny Park in New Canaan. The results from the regional championships will determine how many participants for the championship, but only 50 runners are allowed per race due to current state protocol. So that will result in staggered start times, both boys and girls, throughout the day.
Nov. 11 at East Shore Park in New Haven are the tentative date and site for the SCC cross country championship meets. Six teams for both boys and girls will qualify for the championship meet, plus up to the next eight best individual runners for teams that did not qualify, to make 50.
Bethel High will be the host site for the SWC cross country championship meet on Nov. 13, according to Berkowitz. The top five teams, plus the top 15 individuals not from a qualifying team.
Both the SWC and SCC will hold virtual meets for its girls swimming championships and in-person meets for the diving championships. The FCIAC championship meet could be virtual as well.
“The bottom line is every place I go to, every coach I talk to, tells me the athletes are so happy to be able to be playing,” Schulz said. “This is not your normal season. We are not playing a full CIAC season. But they want to keep playing. They saw what happened last spring.”
The CIAC is proceeding with a winter sports season. The start date is Dec. 7, the end date is Feb. 21 and that is, for now, to include league and state tournament play.
“Absolutely, we are going ahead with plans to be able to play a full season for our winter athletes,” Simon said.
Simon noted that the CIAC will be putting together a winter sports committee where, like the fall version, will include superintendents, principals, athletic directors and members of the CSMS-Sports Medicine Committee among others. There will also be input from the various sport specific committees.
Basketball will strictly be played within the league. There will be no non-conference games, including out-of state contests. The SCC and SWC likely will conduct a 16-game schedule.
The Day of New London reported this week that the Eastern Connecticut Conference will have a 15-game regular season.
But with COVID numbers slowly on the uptick, there is plenty of uncertainty for the winter season with everything being held indoors.
“I am concerned about the other sports. I’m waiting for the CIAC committees (to make decisions) and the return to play document,” SCC commissioner Al Carbone said. “There are a lot of questions about sports and the mitigating strategies.”
Said Simon: “We have a very clear process we follow that I think was very successful for the fall season. … It will be done in the next couple of weeks.”