CIAC cancels all winter tournaments over coronavirus spread concerns, student-athletes, parents put forth petition to play

Sports

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As colleges, universities, and public schools across the state are canceling classes and events to slow the spread of the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced Tuesday that all winter tournaments have been canceled.

RELATED: CT schools, universities cancel in-person classes, sporting events amid coronavirus concerns

In an unprecedented move from the CIAC, they canceled all winter sporting tournaments over health concerns regarding the coronavirus.

That means all CT high school winter sports championship tournaments are canceled.

Glen Lungarini, Executive Director with the CIAC said at a press conference Tuesday, “The CIAC has made the difficult decision to cancel all remaining CIAC winter tournaments. The CIAC understands and appreciates the disappointment that student-athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators may feel as a result of this decision, however, we must always place the health and safety of our student-athletes first.”

Lungarini touched on what is on the minds of most high school players: the disappointment of not competing for the championship.

There are seniors that were looking forward to that last game, looking forward to making that run to the championship and to them they get hit with news now that they’re not going to have the ability to do that.

– Glen Lungarini, Executive Director with the CIAC
Glen Lungarini Executive Director with the CIAC announces cancellation of sports over coronavirus concerns.

Students told News 8 they feel the decision is unfair to students and teams who worked so hard.

April Artis with the girls basketball team at Wilbour Cross High School said, “I really feel that it’s unfair because the students that worked hard, the student-athletes that worked hard, the colleges that looked at them, they don’t actually get to see what they can do now since they have canceled the games.”

Lungarini said the response from school districts and third-party venues were part of the decision-making. Venues were canceling and several districts had different guidelines to participate.

Some parents said it’s a good thing the CIAC is taking safety precautions.

It’s best to be safe than to be sorry and I understand that kids want to play, it’s the tournaments, the championships and they wanna get that on. But, that will happen but let’s just take care of the problem.

– Robert Artis/ student-athlete parent

WEB EXTRA: A petition to hold the winter tournaments without spectators has been started online

A petition to hold the winter tournaments without spectators has been started online. As of Tuesday evening, it already has 50,000 signatures.

There are other petitions going around, too. The girls’ basketball team at Hillhouse High in New Haven has started a petition, as well.

There are a lot of emotions flying around right now: anger, sadness, confusion. Much of it playing out on social media.

There’s also understanding from many of the coaches who are trying to console players who have been cheated out of playing for state championships.

The boys’ basketball and hockey tournaments just got underway last night. Girs basketball was so close to championship games they were already into the quarterfinals and semi-finals.

Coaches from around the state are trying to help their players understand the situation as they try to grasp it themselves. Some coaches tell News 8 they are still running kids through practice, just in case.

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