CIAC launches sports official appreciation initiative in January

Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC)

CHESHIRE—The CIAC has announced a CIAC officials appreciation initiative which it has opened up to member schools. The initiative will run through the end of January.

“The purpose of the initiative is to reduce the negative actions towards officials, support positive sportsmanship, and combat the growing challenge of retaining current officials and recruiting new ones,” CIAC officials said in a press release. “The initiative encourages schools and their teams to make small gestures of appreciation to officials at all level of play over the course of the month.

The CIAC provided its members with a list of possible recognition examples, but “in the spirit of the Class Act Sportsmanship Program which empowers schools to establish its own sportsmanship efforts, the choice for how to thank officials is up to each school and team,” they said in the release.

According to the CIAC, the idea for the initiative, along with many of the suggestions provided to the member schools, originated from the recently revamped CIAC sportsmanship committee, which is made up of administrators, coaches, athletic directors, students, and CIAC staff. Discussions from the group have focused on two primary areas of concern for member schools in regard to sportsmanship: treatment of officials and behavior of adult fans.

In addition to the initiative, the CIAC has released a 30-second public service announcement on YouTube that focused on fall sports. A similar video featuring winter athletes will be released soon.

The CIAC has also been collaborating with the members of its student athletic advisory board in working to address both these challenges.

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