Friday Night Rights: CIAC Rule Leaves Out Tech School Students

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is the governing body for the state’s high school athletic programs.  Most do not have occasion to become familiar with the CIAC’s rules.  But I recently came across a CIAC eligibility rule that deserves attention, and perhaps should be changed.

 The rule at issue reads as follows:

Student-athlete participation at any state authorized public school of choice or any state authorized CHARTER, MAGNET, REGIONAL COOPERATIVE, INTER-DISTRICT SATELLITE SCHOOL STUDENTS: Eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics at the sending school or school from which he/she would normally matriculate is extended to any student when the school does not provide any interscholastic athletic program.  

In general, a student can only compete for the school that he or she attends.  Students at magnet and charter schools that have no athletic programs can compete for the public school that they would have attended in the ordinary course - their “hometown school.”  

There’s nothing wrong with allowing these students the opportunity to compete in high school athletics.  But the problem arises with students at Connecticut’s state-run technical schools.
Technical schools often have very limited athletic programs, sometimes only fielding one sport for boys and girls during a particular season.  But, by fielding even a few teams, technical schools are considered by the CIAC to have an interscholastic athletic program.  Therefore its students can only compete in sports offered at the school.  An exception is available for students who wish to compete in individual sports not offerred by the technical school, as they can sometimes compete as a “one person team.”  Clearly a so-called team of one offers none of the social benefits of being part of a team. 
The CIAC essentially wants to prevent students from playing for schools at which they are not students.  This goal may be sensible.  But by carving out exceptions for charter and magnet school students, the CIAC has left out students attending Connecticut’s technical schools.  Technical school students should be allowed to compete for their hometown high school teams if their chosen sports are not offered at their school.  Under the current rule, these students are left on the sideline.


  1. Just wondering what your source is for saying that CIAC rules allow homeschoolers to compete at her/his hometown school? My understanding is the opposite. This is from the CIAC handbook:

    The Board of Directors of the Connecticut Association of Schools strongly supports the existing
    Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) position concerning the eligibility of
    home-schooled students to participate in interscholastic athletics. Current CIAC regulations
    dictate that the opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports be extended to only those
    students who are enrolled in its member schools and who meet all CIAC eligibility requirements.
    More specifically, eligibility is to be restricted to those students who are otherwise eligible and
    whose educational program is under the direct supervision of a CIAC member school.
    The CAS Board of Directors neither permits nor endorses any changes in any CIAC regulations
    which would accommodate the eligibility of home-schooled students to participate in
    interscholastic sports in Connecticut. The Board of Directors holds that the inclusion of homeschooled
    students in interscholastic sports activities would interfere with the CIAC’s ability to
    ensure the uniform and consistent application of its rules governing eligibility. The current
    regulation, which excludes home-schooled students from participation, is requisite to the CIAC’s
    ability to maintain a fair, equitable and safe environment for the student athletes of Connecticut.
    The Executive Board of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, unanimously
    endorses the position of the C.I.A.C. with regards to the following three items:
    * The transfer rule
    * Home-schooling and participation in C.I.A.C. sanctioned sports
    * The State Attorney General’s position with regards to Connecticut State Department of
    Education review of C.I.A.C. Board of Control decisions.

  2. Dan Fitzgerald says:

    Kate, thank you for the correction. I edited the post. Here’s the relevant rule on home-schooled students:

    HOME SCHOOLED STUDENTS: Eligibility to participate in interscholastic athletics is not to be extended to any student whose program is not under the direct supervision of a CIAC member school. This prohibition includes any recognition by member schools of home schooling as school district sponsored “alternative programs.” Alternative programs, for the purposes of interscholastic athletics, are only to be recognized if they are developed by and function under the direct control of the local school system to serve the educational needs of a targeted group of students. Such programming generally relates to modifications in existing courses or placement in an alternative school which a district may sponsor and is available to all
    eligible students.


  1. [...] cases these students were already suffering from limited athletic opportunities (see my article Friday Night Rights: CIAC Rule Leaves Out Tech School Students).  It remains to be seen whether the decision to cut athletic programs at Connecticut’s [...]

  2. [...] Friday Night Rights: CIAC Rule Leaves Out Tech School Students [...]

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