HS Football Season Saved As CIAC OKs Start for All Fall Sports, Rejecting Football Committee’s Advice

On Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 12, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Board of Control voted to keep the fall season as planned for all fall sports–saving Football from a postponed season.

The decision went against the CIAC Football Committee’s recommendation to postpone the season to the spring for fear of high COVID-19 transmission risk due to the high-contact nature of the game. Ryan Masterson, president of the Wilton Warrior Gridiron Club, the Wilton High School’s football team booster organization, initially thought the Committee’s recommendation would carry a heavy weight in the CIAC’s decision, but nonetheless, CIAC’s Board of Control–made up of Connecticut doctors, athletic directors, principals, superintendents, and consultants–voted unanimously that sports stick to a fall start, according to Gametime CT.

The CIAC Fall Season guidelines, initially released July 31, set football to start holding “organized team activities” on Aug. 17. Football will join all other fall sports to have players begin practicing in cohorts of 15 or less starting Aug. 27; this start will be followed by full-team and full-contact practice starting Sept. 11; scrimmages will start Sept. 18 and games will be scheduled starting Sept. 24.

Football will have an abbreviated season capped at six games. Other fall sports will be limited to 12 competitions.

The above CIAC guidelines are “fluid,” and subject to change as health data does. Some decisions, such as whether fall season sports will be allowed to have spectators, will be up to each school district.

Nonetheless, the fall-start decision was celebratory news to members of the Wilton Warriors Football Team, who had nervously anticipated the possibility of a spring football season and the likelihood of conflict if it had to overlap with sports regularly scheduled with a spring season.

Wilton players, coaches, parents, and the school’s athletic director have expressed confidence in the football team’s ability to keep players safe for a fall start, a conviction that’s been reinforced by Connecticut’s current low case data. Summer sports too have been running in Wilton since phase 2 reopening, with many teams leading successful summer seasons.

Head coach of WHS football EJ DiNuzio said that the success of the team’s five-week summer conditioning program–socially distant when possible and cohorted–is a testament to the team’s existing commitment to safety–and to the game.

“There’s not many times you’re going to get kids that are going to enjoy running around in 95-degree weather, but [for these players], finally being able to get out of their house, finally being able to see their friends in a safe situation and safe environment, doing what they love…it was great to see,” DiNunzio said. “That made me really happy.”