The CIAC held its annual rules and regulations workshop for school administrators on Thursday, August 15. The program was part of a two-day event aimed at assisting schools in running an effective interscholastic program. More than 40 people attended the meeting on day one, which provided a crash course in CIAC rules and regulations along with discussion of relevant issues and legislation, and a tutorial on using the CIAC online eligibility center. Day two of the program is designed specifically to help first-time athletics directors manage their programs.
Below are just a few of the highlights and points of emphasis from the program. As the program covered a wide variety of topics in great detail, the items listed below do not encompass all of the information presented. Administrators or interested parties should consult the CIAC Handbook for detailed information, or contact the CIAC office with specific questions.
- A quick look at a participation survey showed that more than 108,000 students participated in interscholastic sports in Connecticut last year.
- Review of the new Korey Stringer Institute Guidelines for prevention of heat illness, which have been adopted for football. It was also pointed out that ADs need to emphasize with coaches that heat illness is a serious threat for all sports, not just football, and that coaches need to be cognizant of heat acclimation in the early season in all sports.
- Covered recent advisories sent to ADs on two critical topics. A series of documents on concussion education for parents and student-athletes and how ADs can help share the information. And information on limiting person-to-person contact in football practice.
- On the topic of preseason scrimmages it was pointed out that teams cannot run a scrimmage in any sport until the team has run three full days of practice (not three practices, three practice days), or eight days of practice for football because of the required five days of conditioning.
- For coaches, all must complete concussion education modules, though the complete course only need to be completed once.
- The requirements involved in new state laws about pool safety and athletics director qualifications were covered. One important note was that the pool safety regulations are effective immediately.
- Rules of eligibility explanation on when eligibility is established which is that eligibility is determined when grades are distributed to entire student body – or 14th day after close of the marking period — whichever comes first. ADs should determine eligibility for all students for all sports at the same time.
- The explanation of the eight semester rule is that from the time a student first enters ninth grade, the student has four consecutive years, or eight consecutive semesters to compete in athletics, whether they use it or not.
- ADs should be aware of what grades transfer students are being placed in — they may have already begun their eight semester count. There are ways to appeal eight semester rule exceptions, as a result of extenuating circumstances, only if they have not participated in a sport for four years.
- Students are eligible to compete through their 19th year, but cannot start a season in which they will turn 20.
- Boys are not eligible to play on a girls team, but girls may play on boys teams.
- CIAC adopted a new policy for transgender athletes which dictates a student will be able to compete as their stated gender once the school has officially approved the student’s choice.
- The appeal process for eligibility should come through the principal (in consultation with the AD). Families should be aware that hardship appeal requests require significant financial records as explanation.
- In the category of coach certification, anyone coaching at any level (including volunteer coaches) whether high school, middle school, etc. must have a permit. Permit process is different for teachers and non-teachers. And all coaches with permits must be evaluated every year by a supervisor.
- Similarly, volunteer coaches are the same as any other coach in a program, and must abide by all laws and CIAC regulations and policies.
- Coaches are subject to CIAC rules and regulations as soon as they are hired for a position, not when they actually begin coaching.
- Students cannot play on an outside team in the same sport during the season (from the start of the season–which is defined as the date of the first scheduled contest). Also cannot change teams from that date forward.
- There were too many details of out-of-season rules to cover in the session, but it was emphasized that the spirit of the rules are that coaches are not to be working with their teams in the offseason, or organizing practices. There are many nuances to the rule, but that is the essence.
- ADs should establish a system by which coaches report player or coach ejections so that required suspensions are served appropriately.
- Similar to the out-of-season regulations, the transfer rule has many details. Any student who transfers into a school without a legal change of address is subject to the transfer rule. If the transfer is determined to be for athletic reasons, the student must sit out of athletic competition for 365 days. If not, the student must sit out 50-percent of the team’s scheduled games. Players are allowed to practice and scrimmage with a team while they sit out.
The remaining points of emphasize are regarding the online eligibility center.
- School username and passwords should only be shared with necessary personnel, not with coaches, scorekeepers, etc. for entering scores or tournament rosters. Username and password are akin to principal’s signature, so should be protected accordingly. AD is ultimately responsible for submissions, and meeting deadlines.
- It is important for ADs to keep information for the schools up-to-date within the system for both AD and coaches.
- The purpose of a support ticket within the system is to request technical support, to correct schedule errors that don’t have have a corresponding contest in the system, or any situation where a change is not available through the system.