CIAC approves changes to 2014 football playoffs

Greenwich High's Austin Longi gets by his Trumbull High School opponent during Friday night's game at McDougall Stadium. — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich High’s Austin Longi gets by his Trumbull High School opponent during Friday night’s game at McDougall Stadium. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s football committee met on Wednesday and approved several changes for the 2014 season.

The changes include limiting the playoff to two rounds, with semifinal games held on Saturday, Dec. 6, and finals on Saturday, Dec.13. This will give playoff teams a break of nearly 10 days between their Thanksgiving games and the first round of the tournaments.

Thirty-two teams will still qualify for the playoffs, meaning Connecticut could crown as many as eight state champions. The change also eliminates the gauntlet of three games in 10-11 days, which all playoff teams have faced.

The CIAC also stated that “a final decision on the playoff structure and format will be made at the Committee’s February meeting.”

The football committee will also “continue to evaluate possibilities for changes to the regular season and postseason schedule for the 2015 season and beyond.”

The committee also did not make any changes to the dates or format for the regular season, and kept the traditional Thanksgiving day games intact.

Here’s the full statement from the CIAC:

CHESHIRE, Conn. – The CIAC Football Committee approved several changes for the 2014 football season at its meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

The Committee voted to make no changes to the dates or format for the 2014 football regular season with Thanksgiving Day remaining as the last date to count for the postseason. The 2014 playoffs will consist of a semifinal round on Saturday 10 days after Thanksgiving and a championship round the following Saturday. This will allow a minimum of one week between each game. Thirty-two teams will still qualify for the postseason in 2014 however final decision on the playoff structure and format will be made at the Committee’s February meeting. The Committee plans to continue to evaluate possibilities for changes to the regular season and postseason schedule for the 2015 season and beyond.

In addition, on the recommendation of the Sports Medicine Committee the following changes on the permitted allotment of person-to-person contact time in practice were approved by the Committee and will be presented to the CIAC Board of Control at their next meeting.

After the first five conditioning in which no contact is allowed, for the next three and-a-half weeks prior to the start of the regular season a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 120 minutes during practice plus conduct one full scrimmage or seven-on-seven scrimmage per week under game-like conditions. If a second scrimmage is conducted the time (60 minutes) must be deducted from the 120 minutes allowed. A jamboree is considered a full scrimmage.

From the start of the regular season through Thanksgiving a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 90 minutes per week.

During the post season a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 60 minutes per week.

In spring football a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 120 minutes in the seven days of allowed contact. One inter-squad scrimmage is allowed but it must be part of the 120 minutes of allowed contact.

Teams may continue to dress in full pads for practices, but should only participate in live action in accordance with the above-stated time guidelines for full contact practice.  It is assumed that when players are in shells (shorts, shoulder pads, helmets) no live action will occur. These guidelines are intended to limit live action and not the number of practices a team may participate in using full pads. A team may participate in “air,” “bags,” “wrap,” and “thud” drills and simulations at any point.

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