HS football

St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia holds aloft last year’s Class L championship trophy. The three-time defending state champion Hogs will be playing in Class M for the second time in three seasons in 2020 — if football gets played as expected, this fall,

The CIAC will delay the start of the fall sports season to Sept. 24 in its detailed fall sports plan to be officially released on Friday, according to CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini.

Full practices will begin no earlier than Sept. 11. The maximum number of football games will be eight games, 14 for the other fall sports.

There will be no more than two games played by each team per week (one for football) with the regular season ending Oct. 30 (Oct. 29 for cross country).

COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and other health requirements will be conducted by the individual school district, in conjunction with each district’s Department of Health, the CIAC said.

The CIAC also indicated that it will be up to the districts to set limits on spectators, outdoors or indoors, or have none at all.

Both the CIAC’s Fall Sports Committee and the Board of Control unanimously approved the plan.

The maximum number of games played will also include a “tournament experience,” according to Lungarini, where every team can participate.

How that format will work, including whether it would determine state champions, has yet to be determined by sport. It will not be conducted as traditional single-elimination formats have in the past. 

The “tournament experience” is scheduled to be held Nov. 2-15, except for cross country, which will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 8. 

The current regular season schedules on the CIAC website will not only be curtailed, but revamped to feature more regional matchups.

Teams will be setting up games with opponents closest in proximity to the school to limit transportation times and to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. The CIAC said this setup is designed to “make it more feasible” for parents to transport their kids to games.

League commissioners and athletic directors, with assistant from the CIAC, will put the revamped schedules together.

All fall sports teams cannot take part in scrimmages until Sept. 18.

Football teams will continue conditioning only in groups of no more than 15 until Aug. 17 when skillwork can be added in. The same applies to the other sports beginning Aug. 27.

The CIAC was expected to release its fall plan on Thursday, but held off to allow school superintendents to thoroughly review the plan, Lungarini said.

Meanwhile, at Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s press briefing late Thursday, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a Lamont advisor, said he did not think contact sports should be played at all.

“We recommend, if you look at our risk graphic, that contact sports of any type not be played,” Dr. Emanuel said.

Lungarini has consistently stated throughout the spring and summer that if schools do not return to the classroom and remain in distance learning come September, a fall sports season will not happen.