CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has postponed all winter sports for school students until Jan. 19, 2021.
With COVID-19 case numbers continuing to climb around the state and more districts entering the state’s Red Alert zone for infection rates, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the state and the CIAC have pushed back the start of the winter sports season.
No practices or games will be allowed until January.
The CIAC Board of Control released a statement Tuesday morning saying,
The CIAC Board of Control acted this morning to postpone all winter sports to January 19, 2021. The CIAC Board of Control will continue to collaborate with the DPH, Governor Lamont’s office, and the CSMS Sports Medicine Committee in the weeks leading up to the January 19th start of winter practices.
CIAC Interscholastic athletics is an education-based experience that maintains in-person learning and the health and safety of our school communities as our top priority. Today’s action supports our member schools while they continue to manage rising COVID numbers within their communities and experience widespread movements to distance learning.”
It will be up to each district on whether or not conditioning and work in small cohorts will be possible before Jan. 19.
A big factor moving forward will be the schools moving to remote learning. Will educators allow teams to compete if there is no in-person learning and staffing is an issue?
Before Tuesday’s announcement, teams were set to begin practice for the winter season on Dec. 5.
The board met with state health officials, who are recommending moderate-risk sports like basketball and ice hockey only take place between two in-state teams.
Earlier in November, the Connecticut Department of Public Health advised moving state competitions to the spring.
The same suggestions applied to lower-risk sports like golf, singles tennis, running/cross country, and weightlifting.
However, everyone — including players — is asked to wear masks, social distance, and follow health protocols.
For higher-risk sports like wrestling martial arts, football, and dance, it suggested moving them to the spring.
It wasn’t a surprise announcement for coaches and players, but they tell News 8 it still stung.
Now teams across the state are wondering, what’s will happen next?
“It hurts. It’s upsetting; my heart breaks for my seniors,” said Kevin Walton, basketball head coach at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven.
He said students are once again paying for the bad behavior of others.
“I totally agree about the safety of it all, but I also believe that our kids are being shortchanged in the fact that I think that, if we would’ve put our heads together a little more, these kids would’ve had an opportunity to play.”
“I’m having flashbacks of being in elementary school and doing my work quietly and a bunch of knuckleheads in the background were acting up and now none of us get recess,” added Tim Tredwell, Daniel Hand High School head coach.
Walton’s basketball teams have won a lot of games over the years, and he said he can’t imagine not being on the court with his kids.
“What I would give for a technical foul right now.”
Lou Pane has coached ice hockey in East Haven for 35 years. He’s keeping his fingers crossed that his Yellow Jackets will be on the ice this season and he’s trying to keep his players upbeat.
“The main thing is, there are brighter days to come and people have to realize that…What I always tell them is ‘through the years, don’t ever let your peaks be too high, and don’t ever let your valleys be too low.'”