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CIAC announces plans for Spring football season

The season, which will be played during the spring semester, is for sports that do not complete at least 40 percent of games during their regularly scheduled season.

CHESHIRE, Conn. — The CIAC Board of Control announced Tuesday afternoon plans for high school football players to still have a season this academic year.

While the board reaffirmed its decision earlier this month to cancel full contact football for 2020-2021, an alternative spring competition season has now been established.

The season, which will be played during the spring semester, is for sports that do not complete at least 40 percent of games during their regularly scheduled season. 

CIAC says the start and end dates of the winter and spring seasons will be adjusted to accommodate the alternative season.

That way -- there will be minimal impact to winter and spring sports.

Here are the suggested dates by the CIAC for the alternative spring competition season:

  • Conditioning: February 22 - February 26
  • First day of Full Pads (Football only): February 27
  • Scrimmage Dates: March 6 and March 12 or 13
  • First date of special season contests: March 19
  • Last date of special season contests: April 17

According to officials, the alternative season is still subject to supportive COVID metrics.

"With the establishment of a second semester alternative season in which full contact 11v11 football can be played, any football activity outside of that season would be considered out-of-season," the CIAC said in a release.

The Board waived the out-of-season rule for football coaches on a limited basis, so teams may participate in low to moderate risk school-based activities until November 21.

Those activities may include any low to moderate risk football activities as provided by the member school or member school league.

The regular CIAC 2021 Spring Sports Season dates are as follows:

  • Conditioning: April 11 - April 22 (for student-athletes not playing a sport in the special season)
  • First date of spring contests: April 23
  • Last date to count toward CIAC State Tournament: June 8
  • CIAC State Tournament: June 14 - June 27

The CIAC also noted that the league does not endorse play in independent teams, etc.

RELATED: Independent high school football league starting to gain traction

"There has never been a scenario in the sport of football where a student athletes could have the option of playing for an outside team during the fall season," officials wrote. "In every CIAC sanctioned sport an athlete may not participate on a school team and outside team in the same sport during the same season."

However, with the fall football season postponed, the Board is aware that such play is occurring throughout the state.

CIAC recommends the following guidance to schools for players who may participate on an independent football team this fall: 

  • A school should be aware of the potential for overuse injury if a student-athlete is participating in both school-based low to moderate risk football activities and non-school based high-risk independent leagues. The CIAC does not endorse simultaneous participation, however, the ultimate decision to allow dual participation is at the discretion of the school/district. To avoid the potential for overuse injuries a student-athlete should not exceed the training that is experienced during a “normal” fall football season.
  • It is recommended that football experiences not exceed a schedule of 5 practice days per week with a duration of 2 hours per practice, 1 game per week, and one recovery/conditioning day per week. If a student-athlete is participating in both schoolbased activities and independent experiences, the school should monitor the student’s activities as a preventative measure against overuse injuries.
  • Due to CIAC’s postponement of high-risk full contact football this fall, student-athletes have not participated in the “normal” training progression of heat acclimatization while wearing helmets and pads, nor have they engaged in the “normal” progression of skill work leading up to game speed full contact play. Therefore, it is recommended that student-athletes and their parents be advised that the likelihood of overuse injuries from participation in high risk full contact football, or at least those to some extent caused by not having had a preseason, occurring this fall are high.

To read the CIAC Board of Control's full release following the latest sport guidance issued by DPH, click here.