The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization. Founded in 1921 following a proliferation of unregulated high school athletic activities, the CIAC was established to mitigate the unsafe and abusive practices that were prevalent in high school sports in Connecticut. The CIAC was formed by a group of high school principals who, in the absence of any other groups or organizations, stepped forward to protect the interests of student-athletes. Since its inception in 1921, the CIAC has worked to develop, maintain and enforce rules of eligibility and conduct that insure equitable athletic competition among Connecticut’s secondary schools. The CIAC serves as the sole governing body for inter-scholastic athletic activities in Connecticut.
What began as an organization of regulation, the CIAC has grown dramatically over the years. In 1953, the CIAC merged with the Connecticut Association of Secondary Schools to create a new organization with the resources to serve the needs of secondary school students in all areas of interscholastic activity. CAS-CIAC has emerged as an informed leader in Connecticut’s education system, providing services to Connecticut’s public and parochial schools in areas ranging from academics to athletics.
Membership in the CIAC is open to any public or parochial school in Connecticut which is accredited by the State Department of Education, any private school or academy which serves the community as a public school, and any private school holding associate institutional membership in the Connecticut Association of Schools (the parent organization of the CIAC). Virtually all public and parochial high schools in Connecticut are dues-paying members of the CIAC.
Each member school, through an annual Membership Agreement, agrees to abide by the Constitution of the Connecticut Association of Schools and by the CIAC By-Laws and Eligibility Rules.
The CIAC Board of Control, elected by the membership at the Annual Meeting each year, is the governing body for high school interscholastic sports in Connecticut. The Board, comprised of fourteen voting and three non-voting members, meets monthly during the school year. The broadly representative CIAC Board reflects the diversity of Connecticut’s schools, with representatives from large, medium and small schools, urban and rural schools, public and parochial schools, and technical schools. Through the Constitution and By-Laws, the CIAC Board is vested with the authority to develop, supervise, regulate and control interscholastic sports competition, including state championships, in 27 CIAC-sanctioned sports. The CIAC Board creates policies and practices which guide the work of sports committees and related groups, and regulates the eligibility of student athletes. The CIAC Eligibility Committee is responsible for interpreting the athletic eligibility code and to recommend to the Eligibility Review Board possible exceptions. The Eligibility Review Board is empowered to make exceptions to the eligibility code when, in its opinion, such exceptions are for just cause and further the objectives of the CIAC. A total of 27 CIAC sports committees, composed of principals, athletic directors, coaches, officials, and consultants direct the activities of each CIAC-sponsored sport including game rules, playing conditions, tournament policies, and sportsmanship initiatives.
CIAC policy is established and effected by the principals of the member schools. The principal of each CIAC member school is a voting delegate to the Legislative Body, which enacts all changes to the Constitution and By-Laws at the Annual Meeting. Thus school districts have direct involvement in creating policies and procedures.
Through the Constitution and By-Laws, all member schools and all student-athletes therein are guaranteed full due process rights through procedures carried out by the six-member Eligibility Committee and the thirteen-member Eligibility Review Board, which are charged with deciding matters of student eligibility. The Eligibility Committee considers all requests received from member schools for exceptions to the CIAC Eligibility Rules and recommend possible exceptions to the Eligibility Review Board for a final decision on all exceptions.
CIAC income is derived from the annual dues paid by member schools, from tournament gate receipts, and from corporate sponsorships and assistance.