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New grid plan targets playoffs, reduced contact

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CHESHIRE — The future of high school football in Connecticut is taking shape. For the sake of player safety, it will likely mean slightly fewer games and a lot less contact in practices.

Contact during practice would also be subject to strict limits, especially during the bye week and in the postseason, when it would prohibited entirely.

The football committee’s proposal does require approval by the CIAC Board of Control. That board will meet in late August and again in mid September, by which time the 2014 season will be under way.

The upcoming campaign, thanks to another late Thanksgiving like last year, features an 11-week regular season. The playoffs, however, have been reformatted to two rounds in eight divisions.

Under the proposal issued July 24, the 2015 and 2016 playoffs would go back to three rounds and four divisions, starting with quarterfinals the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. There would be 4-5 days between rounds.

That’s how the playoffs have run since 2010, when Connecticut football expanded its postseason to 32 teams.

The big change would apply to postseason practices, when no player-to-player contact would be allowed.

There would also be limits on contact in practice at other points in the season.

The July 24 proposal also states that one week would be added to the regular season allowing for a bye week with zero live contact.

The regular season would be limited to 10 games, including any league playoffs, which are still played in the FCIAC, South-West Conference and Naugatuck Valley League. Those, clearly, are likely to be reconsidered should the proposal be adopted.

Also, all Connecticut high schools that play football will be required to participate in the RIO Injury Surveillance study.



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