Parents/Students FAQs

How many years are students allowed to compete in athletics?
Student-athletes are eligible to compete in athletics for four years starting with the year they first enter ninth grade. So a student whose first year in 9th grade is 2012-13 will be eligible to play through the 2015-16 school year. That window is not changed regardless of how many years the student actually participates in athletics, or if the student ends up repeating a grade.

Are junior varsity and freshmen teams subject to the same regulations as varsity athletes?
That’s right, the CIAC eligibility and competition rules apply to all high school athletics at any level.

What is the oldest a student can be to compete in a season?
An athlete is not permitted to start a sport during a season in which they will be 20 years old at any point, with a season defined as from the first allowable play date until the last posted state championship date in that sport.

Are there academic requirements to competing in CIAC-sponsored sports?
There are indeed. You can find an explaination of what students and parents need to know regarding CIAC Eligibility Rules in this brochure.

Can schools have more restrictive eligibility requirements in terms of grades or academic workload than the CIAC as a whole?
Yes, schools have every right to create their own eligibility requirements provided they are not more lenient than the CIAC regulations. You should be sure to consult with the athletic department at your school to become aware of your school’s specific requirements.

If a student starts one sport during a season, are they allowed to change and compete in a different sport that same season?
Students are not permitted to switch from one school team to another after the first scheduled contest in that sport.

Is a student-athlete permitted to receive outside lessons or coaching in their sport during the season?
As long as the outside lessons are individual lessons or coaching and do not come from the coach of the specific team, this is permitted. Students are not allowed to participate in an outside team in the same sport during the season (exceptions exist in golf, swimming, gymnastics, track & field, and tennis). The best policy is to not do any outside activity in your own sport during the season without checking with your athletic administration to be sure it is not a problem.

Are there restrictions in what activities students can participate in during the offseason?
Generally, student athletes are permitted to participate in any activity or sport they wish during the off season without violating CIAC rules. The exceptions are related to activities or camps that involve the student’s specific school or coach. Again, your school athletic administration is your best source to confirm what is permitted.

What are the camp restrictions?
The idea of these restrictions is that camp/clinic experiences should not be organized team activities to serve as pre-season practices. As such, the restrictions are: attendance must be during non-school time; you may not wear a school uniform or that identifies your school; school or coaches may not finance the attendance of the camp; if the student’s coach is involved with the camp he/she may not have contact with the student for more than 10 days, and can’t coach his/her team as an exclusive team unit; and no more than 10-percent of those attending the camp may be from the student’s school if the team’s coach is involved.

Are there different rules for clinics as opposed to camps?
There are a few, though the rules about school equipment and the clinic being organized by the coach still apply. Students can attend one-day clinics, unless permission is granted by the CIAC to attend a multi-day clinic. Also, students are permitted to be involved in a sport-specific conditioning program anytime throughout the year, but may not receive coaching or instruction in your sport techniques in a conditioning program, and equipment (balls, bats, etc.) used in their sport may not be utilized and mandatory attendance is not permitted.

If students or parents are confused by rules, what resources are available?
The most complete resource is the CIAC Handbook, which spells out in detail all the regulations for CIAC competition. More specifically, students and parents should address any questions or concerns about eligibility to their athletic director or principal, preferably BEFORE they engage in an activity that they are concerned will impact eligibility. Those resources are also the best to address concerns about academic requirements for eligibility.

If a student is ruled ineligible, is there an appeal process?
Appeals of eligibility or other CIAC rulings can be made, but must come from the school administration to the CIAC Eligibility Committee.

If someone reads the Handbook and believes they have correctly interpreted a rule, is it ok to proceed with an activity could jeopardize eligibility?
The CIAC has the final authority on interpretations of CIAC guidelines, and a misinterpretation of a rule is not a valid reason for violating a rule. The CIAC strongly encourages parents and students to consult with athletic directors or principals if they have questions about interpretations of the CIAC rules.

If a student/parent has a specific question not addressed in these FAQs, where can they address it?
As mentioned above, communicating with the athletic director or principal is the best option. You can also submit the question via e-mail to faqsatcasciacdotorg  (faqsatcasciacdotorg)  . Questions that are asked frequently will be added to this page, however we cannot guarantee that individual questions can be responded to. The e-mail address is not intended for people to submit specific questions looking for interpetations of eligibility or other rules, those questions should be addressed to your school’s administration and the school can consult with the CIAC if necessary.