CIAC puts fall sports on hold for now

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By Mark Jaffee, Republican-American

It didn’t take long for another shutdown, at least temporarily.

The CIAC Board of Control met Friday for the second time in a week to discuss whether to go forward with the fall high school sports preseason amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Control paused all in-person interscholastic fall sport activity, including conditioning programs, until Aug. 24.

Following Friday’s CIAC Board of Control meeting, the board invited the state Department of Public Health to meet this week to discuss its recommendations for interscholastic athletics.

The uncertainty of the fall season has been a harsh reality for all concerned.

“Unfortunately, that is just the way the COVID world runs,” CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini said. “We have to be willing to be flexible and willing to adjust as information becomes available, and keep the health and safety of the students at the center of our decision-making.”

Lungarini said the board invited health officials to discuss the issue on Thursday.

“I don’t think any decision will be made on Thursday,” Lungarini added. “The interest to meet is to ensure we have a full understanding of their recommendations and the COVID data and science supports it.”

Earlier last week, the board voted to allow sports programs to begin formal workouts with football programs beginning Monday, reinforcing its previous announcement on July 30 with a shortened season set to start Sept. 24.

That is all now on hold.

Last Monday, the CIAC football committee voted to move the season to the spring, like 14 states throughout the U.S. have already done. But the Board of Control vetoed that idea two days later.

The CIAC is asking coaches to continue to promote virtual safe contact and conditioning with their athletes during the pause, so as to not lose the conditioning gains and socialization benefits made during the summer.

Fall sports teams have been allowed to have one-hour, conditioning-only workouts three times per week since July 6.