CHESHIRE – When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced a tentative plan for spring football last month, it included within that plan a start date of Dec. 7 for winter sports. Now, the winter season schedule, or at least the logistics of a potential season, is starting to take shape.
According to reports from the Hartford Courant and GameTimeCT, the CIAC met on Thursday and approved the tentative winter schedule, and other factors for the season that included how many games would be allowed for the season, how many games would be needed to qualify for the state tournament, and what teams would be allowed to play each other.
Winter sports practices will be allowed to begin on Nov. 21, and the season will start Dec. 7. Girls and boys basketball, ice hockey, boys swimming and wrestling will all be allowed to hold two contests per week, much like the current fall sports structure where soccer, field hockey and cross country are allotted the same amount.
Basketball and ice hockey will be allowed a maximum of 16 regular season games as opposed to the normal 20, while boys swimming and wrestling will be allowed 14. Indoor track and gymnastics will be allowed 12. To qualify for the state tournament, teams would have to play at least have of that maximum number.
Also like the current fall season, schools will be encouraged to regionalize competition, keeping contests within a school’s own league, and games against out-of-state teams will be prohibited.
The details of state tournament competition still need to be figured out, including venues to hold the state championships. Currently, for the fall season, there are no state championships, only regional tournaments that are still being figured out. The CIAC has discussed regionalizing the initial rounds of a potential state tournament to limit the amount of travel.
The CIAC also discussed prohibiting multi-team events this winter, meaning many wrestling tournaments that often brought in numerous teams from across the state and even beyond will not be held this year.
While plans are being put in place, the CIAC stressed that it was being done so strictly for scheduling purposes and did not mean all sports were approved to take place this winter. Individual winter sports committees are expected to meet within the next week and discuss potential strategies to mitigate the spread of covid-19, and those plans will then be reviewed by the CIAC to determine which sports can proceed. Back in August, CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said in a press conference that if high-risk outdoor sports in the fall were deemed unsafe, it would be difficult to see high-risk indoor sports being played in the winter, leaving sports like basketball and ice hockey in doubt.
According to the CIAC website, both basketball committees will meet on Tuesday, and the Board of Control’s next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 10.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org