The last conference in the state to still play a conference championship game will not play that contest next season — and perhaps never again.
On Friday, the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s Board of Directors announced that it has modified its football schedule for 2016. The modified FCIAC schedule will include 10 games for each team to comply with the CIAC limitation on regular-season games.
As a result, the FCIAC championship game, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and was attended by more than 8,000 fans and viewed by another 11,000 on the HAN Network, won’t take place next season. The conference final would be an 11th game for the two teams involved, which would violate CIAC rules.
The FCIAC was the only state conference to hold a championship game this season (won by Darien over New Canaan). In order to keep the title contest, as well as the Thanksgiving rivalry games, and comply with the CIAC’s 10-game regular-season mandate, all FCIAC teams except the two finalists played nine games.
The league’s 17 teams will again be divided into two divisions next fall, with nine teams in the West and eight in the East. Teams will play every opponent within their division, along with two crossover games, including the traditional Thanksgiving rivalry contests.
East Division teams will have an open week and can schedule a non-conference opponent as their 10th game. The new schedule is being announced at an early date to allow these teams time to find an opponent for the open week.
The new schedule was approved by a clear majority vote of the members of the FCIAC Board of Directors, which includes athletic directors, committee chairpersons and school principals.