As the famous line from the song goes (sort of) “hot times, summer in the CIAC (office).” In other words, what exactly goes on at the CIAC during the stretch from mid-June until early September when there is no high school athletic competition in the state? Particularly in the summer months of July and August when schools are out? The answer provides the topic for the first of what will be a regular feature on CIACsports.com in which we go “Inside the CIAC” and take a deeper look at a variety of aspects of the organization.
The activity taking place at the CIAC offices during the summer breaks up into roughly three categories: looking ahead to the new year, long-term projects, the different branch of CAS-CIAC.
Let’s begin the breakdown with looking ahead to the new year. This process actually began well before the summer officially got underway and school was out of session. The fall sport committees began holding meetings in the spring to decide on changes for the 2013 season. Those changes are then need to be incorporated into the various tournament packets, which are available on-line now (and there will be a post sometime soon highlighting significant changes for the new year). Similarly, several CIAC staffers tackled the hefty task of poring through the CIAC Handbook and updating it both with changes to policy and removing outdated information.
There are seven administrators and a handful of staff assistants handling various responsibilities within the CIAC, and five of those seven are 12-month positions that continue to work throughout the summer. With those aforementioned technical issues either completed or in process, there are other issues and tasks on the docket for the remainder of the summer to help prepare for the new year, though some of these are simply goals that might not be completed for the fall. Among the items being tackled this summer is discussing possible sites for CIAC tournament contests, continuing to monitor any eligibility questions, creation of programs to monitor and notify coaches and administrators of dangerous weather conditions, revamping game programs for CIAC championships, working with the CIAC Media Advisory Committee, and developing plans for more regular CIACsports.com features, just to name a few.
Insuring as many things as possible are in place for the new school year is always the first priority for those in education or education-based athletics, but the slightly less frantic pace of the summer does allow for the tackling of some larger projects. For the CIAC this summer has several things in the planning stages that will get a look from the staff. The creation and publication of a bi-annual CIAC brochure, making complete tournament brackets from throughout the history of the organization, determining any large-scale issues that merit consideration for the Board of Control, and discussions regarding the possibility of a CAS-CIAC Hall of Fame are all items that the staff hopes to pursue during the hot summer months.
While most of the CIAC activity in July and August are about looking ahead, there is another part of the department that is handling a glut of activity in the here and now. For those that are unaware, the CIAC is one portion of a larger organization called the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS). While the CIAC’s focus is on education-based athletics, other areas of CAS work to provide training and professional development for school leaders. As such, the months when schools are out of session provide some of the best opportunity for training programs and workshops for principals and others to have them ready to meet the necessary state guidelines for the coming year. Similarly, beginning in August the Connecticut Coaching Education Program will be offering several courses for coaches looking for proper certification, and those will also be held at the CIAC offices in August. There will also be a workshop in August available to all new athletics directors across the state as they will be briefed on CIAC guidelines and protocols to help prepare them to lead their athletics departments.
These are just a few of the tasks and goals on the agenda for the CIAC over the next few months, and before anyone realizes it, students will be reporting for fall practice. Until then the quiet months of summer will be filled with numerous activities, insuring the transition from the summer to the fall will be as smooth as possible.