The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) has issued that following policy, stating that they firmly believe that there is no need for conflict between an early start time and athletic programs in their state. It’s time to ask the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to take note of this issue (learn how to contact the MIAA).
The CIAC believes that high school students should have the opportunity to learn in an optimum learning environment. While some students succeed academically within the existing and traditional school day, research shows that switching to later school start times does create a more optimal learning environment and improves student achievement for high school athletes. High School sports and extra-curricular activities have been perceived barriers to later start times. It is the position of the CIAC that sports are an extremely important component of a high school student’s education. However, interscholastic athletic activities can continue to be offered, with appropriate accommodations, within any reasonable school day structure. The greatest impact on sports will be within the late fall sports season when daylight savings time ends. However, early school dismissal for fall sports teams may well be a reasonable accommodation and compromise for the benefit of more sustained learning opportunities over the duration of a full year. The CIAC will continue to offer student-athletes the same opportunities for sports participation as it has historically done regardless of individual school district decisions on school starting times. Further, it will strive to schedule its state tournaments in ways which will not interfere with classroom instruction. While it is not always possible to achieve, it is a goal of the CIAC Board of Control to schedule its activities so as to not interfere with “student time on task.” The CIAC believes that member schools should continue to promote their activities in a manner which will support sound efforts to enhance optimum learning opportunities. To do less would be to elevate high school athletics to an importance greater than that which is its true purpose. The CIAC believes that decisions that will advance excellence in interscholastic athletics and academics can be achieved without the exclusion of one for the other.”