CIAC lays out plan for alternative football season

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By Mark Jaffee, Republican-American

State high school football teams finally have a target date for spring 2021 to look toward.

The CIAC Board of Control Sept. 29 announced an alternative season for full-contact, 11-on-11 football that would begin with conditioning from Feb. 22 through Feb. 26. Practices with pads and contact would start Feb. 27.

Scrimmages would be from March 6 to March 12 or March 13. A reduced-game schedule would start March 19 and end April 17.

The plans remain fluid and subject to change based on the latest COVID-19 metrics and information.

In September, the CIAC Board of Control canceled full contact, 11-on-11 football for the fall season. The decision was made in alignment with the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s recommendation that football is a high-risk sport. At the time, the CIAC said it would look to alternative plans for the spring.

Since the alternative season is still subject to change, the CIAC said in a statement it has waived the out-of-season rule for football coaches on a limited basis. Through Nov. 21, coaches will be permitted to have contact with their student-athletes to conduct low-to-moderate risk, school-sponsored football activities.

“It gives us something to look toward, but in the same breath, things can change at the last minute,” said Woodland football coach Chris Moffo about the alternative season. “We’ll see how the winter season goes and how it will affect multi-sport athletes.”

The football special season will be sandwiched between the winter and spring sports seasons. An alternative schedule for the winter and spring seasons has also been established.

The potential alternative winter season would hold conditioning Nov. 23 through Dec. 5 with games starting Dec. 7 and running Feb. 5. State tournaments would run Feb. 8 through Feb. 21.

Conditioning for the spring sports season would run from April 11 through April 22 for athletes not playing football. Games would run from April 23 through June 8 with state tournaments going from June 14 through June 27.