High school students may still yet have a spring sports season, as officials from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) decided to maintain their “wait and see” stance without moving to cancel athletics for the season because of coronavirus fears.
On Thursday, April 2, at its regularly scheduled meeting, the CIAC Board of Control reaffirmed its official position that spring sports are “indefinitely suspended.” Its announcement specified that the board “intentionally [has] not issued the constraint of a deadline date to make any decision.”
Officials have said key stakeholders, including students and educators, have expressed a desire to hold off as long as possible before cancelling all spring sport experiences or graduation.
“CIAC leadership has learned from our students, especially our seniors, the need for closure that traditions such as senior night and graduation provide,” the statement read, later adding, “We will make every effort to provide student-athletes experiences that bring closure to their high school sports careers, if it is safe.”
Every possible option is being considered, including activities scheduled after graduation and into July.
“All CIAC rules and regulations will be considered for a one-time exception, given the extreme impact of this pandemic, so we can do the best we can for our kids, if it is safe,” the statement read.
In making the announcement CIAC officials reinforced the need for athletes, schools and communities to continue social distancing to help diminish the risk of the virus continuing to spread. Doing so, they said, would help get school sports back sooner.
“The CIAC Board of Control continues to emphasize the importance of social distancing. We recognize how difficult the abrupt move to online instruction and life without extracurricular activities has been for our students, teachers, parents, administrators, and coaches. By engaging in the social distancing guidelines and mandates provided through the Governor and the State Department of Education, we can collectively flatten the curve and get back to our schools sooner,” they wrote, adding, “Remember, our fastest road back to regular season and tournament play is to engage in social distancing, get back into school, and then on the field of play.”
They acknowledged that sports contact and heightened interest in physical activity present “the greatest challenge in enforcing social distancing.”
“We appreciate that our student-athletes miss their teammates and coaches. Social distancing standards must be maintained. Coaches and student-athletes must join the voices of school leaders in promoting the enforcement of social distancing,” they wrote.
Wilton High School athletic director Chris MacDougal echoed thoughts of safety in his comment about CIAC’s non-decision decision: “I miss you all and can’t wait to see you soon. Please stay safe!”
CIAC’s board is making decisions in collaboration with the State Department of Education, governmental leaders, athletic leagues, member principals, superintendents, athletic directors, coaches, and students.
The board members hope to have more information at their next regularly scheduled CIAC Board of Control meeting on May 7, 2020.