The CIAC, New Canaan's athletic conference, has a position on the issue: “research shows that switching to later school start times does create a more optimal learning environment and improves student achievement for high school athletes... [with later start times] interscholastic athletic activities can continue to be offered, with appropriate accommodations, within any reasonable school day structure... To do less would be to elevate high school athletics to an importance greater than that which is its true purpose.”
Some worry that athletes will have to occasionally miss class to make it to away games on time. However, within our athletic conference, several districts have changed their start times or are working on it. Greenwich and Wilton start later. Ridgefield will do so in 2019. Westport and Norwalk are working on it. The momentum is going in only one direction and as other towns adjust their start times, game scheduling will be a non-issue. Although we think later start can be implemented without causing athletes to miss anymore class time than they do now, we would also argue that the enormous benefit of getting an extra hour of sleep every day of the week far outweighs the downside of an occasional missed hour of class time during a given athletic season.
Furthermore, athletes and coaches around the world are now aware that adequate sleep is one of the most effective ways to enhance performance and reduce injuries. Christine Meier Schatz of Sleep for Success Westport created the visual below to show that sleep is a powerful sports performance enhancer.