The Southern Connecticut Conference is giving serious consideration to holding its boys and girls basketball championship games at neutral sites to accommodate spectators.
The SCC Board of Governors approved the league tournament schedule Tuesday. The girls and boys basketball Division I and II finals are to be held March 25 and 26, respectively, currently at the site of the higher seed.
If the higher-seeded team in each tournament does not allow at least two spectators per player for both teams, then the game will be moved to a neutral site, according to SCC commissioner Al Carbone.
“If one of the schools can’t adhere to (the policy) set for the championship game, then I will move it to a neutral site and have a doubleheader (with the other division),” Carbone said. “We as a league have gotten to the point that two parents can watch their son or daughter play in a championship game. We will be able to do that safely.”
Branford remains the only SCC school not allowing any spectators for its athletic events. Several others are allowing for just home fans. The higher-seeded team’s spectator policy will hold up for the other rounds of the tournament, beginning March 17 for girls and March 18 for boys.
Bennett Rink in West Haven is hosting the three SCC-SWC boys hockey finals (Division I on March 26, Division II and III on March 27) and the SCC girls hockey final (March 25). Bennett has been allowing spectators for both teams since the start of the regular season.
“We are working with Bennett Rink. We think we could have between 250-300 people (for each final),” Carbone said. “Right now, our focus is to safely run playoffs and allow family members to see their family members play.”
Both hockey tournaments begin March 20. Carbone also said no admission will be charged for any league tournament games in any sport.
“We didn’t charge in the fall and we won’t be charging in the winter. This was agreed upon by our principals (Tuesday),” Carbone said.
The SWC boys basketball tournament begins March 15 and concludes March 25. The girls tournament begins March 16 and ends March 26. A decision on the finals being held at the higher seed or neutral site is expected to be determined later this week.
In either scenario, SWC co-commissioner Mark Berkowitz said visiting fans won’t be allowed — they haven’t been at any league game this season — and chances are at a neutral site, no fans will be allowed at all.
“I never say never, but I’d be very, very surprised (if any visiting fans are allowed at the finals),” said Berkowitz, the athletic director at Weston.
The playdowns for the FCIAC boys and girls basketball tournaments begin Saturday. The round of 16 begins March 16 for boys, March 17 for girls. The boys final is March 26 and the girls final is March 27. All games played will be at the higher seed.
The boys ice hockey tournament begins March 22 and the final will be March 27. FCIAC commissioner Dave Schulz said the spectator policy for both sports has been for the home team to allow two parents for each athlete only.
“Our goal is in both the semifinals and finals for ice hockey and basketball, try to allow two parents for both the home and visiting teams,” Schulz said. “That will be up to what the individual school districts and the town DPHs (Department of Health) will allow. So it remains to be seen, but that is our goal.”
The CCC approved for both boys and girls basketball a four-division setup of eight teams apiece using head-to-head, winning percentage and by lot. The winner from the top division of eight teams will be declared the league champion.
The tournaments begin March 22 and conclude either March 26 or 27.
In the NVL, a committee will be formed to meet on March 18 to determine seeding. Because a number of teams in the league have been in COVID-19 quarantine, strength of schedule among other factors will be used to determine seeding.
The tournament for both sports will begin March 20 and conclude March 27. All games are at the higher seed and no spectators will be allowed at any games.
No fans will be allowed at the ECC tournaments, either. The girls North and South Division finals will be held March 24 and 25, respectively. The boys North Division final follows on March 26 while the South Division final wraps on March 27.