UIL pushes back fall sports for 5A, 6A high schools

First football games for state's largest schools now September 24-26

Talk 1370 Newsroom
July 21, 2020 - 10:18 am

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- The University Interscholastic League announced Tuesday that it is pushing back the start of the fall sports season for the state's two largest groups of high schools, as schools across the state grapple with how best to resume classes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on the new guidelines from the UIL, high schools in classes 5A and 6A will not begin fall practice for football and volleyball until September 7. Volleyball can begin competition on September 14, while the first week of football will be delayed four weeks to September 24.

Local health orders, such as Travis County's order prohibiting extra-curricular activities until students return to classrooms, could still wreak havoc on those dates. If schools are blocked from providing strength and conditioning workouts until September 8, as schools in Travis County are, the earliest those schools could play their first game would be October 1, allowing a total of ten weeks for a regular season as opposed to the usual 11.

If health officials order a further delay to extra-curricular activities, it could have a domino effect on the rest of the schedule.

For 5A and 6A football, the adjusted UIL calendar means the regular season will now stretch into early December, with the state championships pushed into January 2021. Stadiums will also be limited to a maximum of 50% capacity, and fans must wear masks and practice social distancing under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order.

The calendar for high schools in 4A and below remains the same, with football beginning practices on August 3 and games beginning on August 27.

In the case of Austin ISD, where LBJ and Eastside Memorial both compete in 4A, that could possibly have a significant impact on their season with those schools under the same restrictions as their 5A and 6A neighbors - potentially impacting the first five weeks of their seasons.

"Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools," UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a statement. "While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread."

UIL officials say their plan allows for local flexibility because COVID-19 affects every community differently. The plan encourages districts to plan for possible interruptions in order to complete their seasons.

Comments ()