WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Thanksgiving Day football games are a storied high school tradition in Connecticut, but could they soon be coming to an end?
There’s a new proposal that would shift high school football schedules to eliminate Thanksgiving Day games. The proposal would also expand the number of teams who can participate in the playoffs. Eight teams currently make the playoffs, the plan is to expand that to 12.
The Connecticut High School Football Alliance submitted a new proposal to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), which is the governing body over high school sports.
The first part of the proposal would be to create a scheduling committee. Al Carbone, the commissioner of the Southern Connecticut Conference helped to draft the proposal.
“Let’s get this committee to schedule competitive football games, that is the first thing that’s the first thing in your class, the second third, and fourth is, do we start the playoffs earlier?” Carbone said.
The proposal could mean cutting one regular season game from the schedule, which would be Thanksgiving Day because the regular season would be over.
“Anytime you can get more teams involved in the postseason experience it’s a good thing for kids, so I support expanding the playoffs,“ said Jason Siegal, the director of athletics for West Hartford Public Schools.
Some Connecticut residents are on board with the proposal, while others would prefer to keep the Thanksgiving Day tradition alive.
“I don’t think they should have Thanksgiving Day games, that’s all. Thanksgiving is for family,” said Bruce Jackson of Glastonbury.
Carbone says teams that don’t make the playoffs can schedule scrimmages on Thanksgiving Day, a kind of compromise to keep the tradition alive.
“I am from Naugatuck, we play in the longest-running Thanksgiving Day football game, so keep it, it’s a big deal, it’s a lot of fun, people adjust the holiday around it,” said Shawn Berry of Glastonbury.
The CIAC will discuss the proposal in their next meeting. They will be speaking with administrators, coaches and athletic directors to see if it will be feasible.