Varsity Football: Branford at Stonington High School Bears , Friday evening, September 14th, 2018. | Jackie L. turner, Special to The Sun.

The CIAC said Sunday that potentially canceled fall sports due to the pandemic won't be played at another time during the school year. | Sun file photo

STONINGTON — If football or any sport is not played this fall, it will not be played this school year, according to a statement Sunday from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

But officials from the Eastern Connecticut Conference hope to meet online with CIAC officials soon to offer plans that would continue to give football a chance to be played.

"The Board of Control has determined that any fall sport that is canceled will not be played at a later time during the 2020-2021 school year," the statement posted Sunday on the CIAC website reads.

The CIAC did allow schools to return to conditioning on Monday. Conditioning had been taking place since July 6 before a brief stoppage. It also said "non-contact sport-specific skill work" can begin on Saturday.

In a letter dated Sunday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health suggested the CIAC develop modifications for football and girls volleyball that would make it moderate or low risk, according to standards developed by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

For football, the DPH said an example of such a modification would by 7 vs. 7 play with no tackling or linemen. But the DPH said the CIAC's sports medicine committee should vet and study any proposed modifications for either sport.

"We do not support that plan," said Stonington High athletic director Bryan Morrone, who also serves as president of the ECC. "Most schools are not in favor of any model that segregates linemen."

Previously, the DPH recommended the CIAC move football and girls volleyball to the spring.

Morrone said he didn't know why the CIAC would not consider moving the two sports to the spring.

"I have no idea. We’ve been out of the loop," Morrone said. "The ECC executive board hopes to have a Zoom meeting with them to figure out what is going on. We are trying to work out a date to meet."

Morrone said the league has two proposals for fall sports they would like CIAC officials to consider.

One model would move all fall sports to the spring. Winter sports would start Jan. 4. Fall sports would take place in March and April, and spring sports would follow in May and June.

A second plan would divide sports into two categories, Fall A and Fall B. Fall B sports would be football and volleyball. Fall A sports would be the remainder of the fall sports. When the sports would be played would be determined by what phase of the pandemic plan the state is in this fall.

"My hope is to have football this year," Morrone said. "We think it's possible. We have been working in cohorts of 10 since July and so far we haven't had any stoppage."

Morrone said there has been some discussion of the league following its own model.

"If we are going against the state plan, we would have to have their sanctioning," Morrone said. "In a typical year, there is a penalty for such action such as no state tournaments. Most schools would not want to do that, but some are so frustrated, they might want to consider it."

The CIAC said it will work this week "to finalize the timeline of full team activities and contest play." The CIAC said the situation remains fluid.

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