44ºF

UIL delays football, volleyball seasons, announces new ‘Risk Management Guidelines'

Practices resume in September for 5A-6A, August for 1A-4A

With the recent announcement that TAPPS has delayed the start of their fall season and multiple counties battling the most recent wave of the coronavirus, the status of the University Interscholastic League’s high school sports schedule was called into question. At Monday’s Texas High School Coaches Association meeting, the UIL did announce that cancelling the season was not an option, but refrained from providing further information.

Tuesday morning, we learned what their revised schedule looks like.

The sports calendar has essentially been divided by conference into two main categories. Schools in the Class 1A - 4A bracket will restart practices on August 3, while Class 5A and 6A schools begin on September 7. This staggered restart is used to protect schools in larger metro areas with higher attendance, giving them more of an opportunity to play the majority of their seasons. As part of this arrangement, the UIL is hoping that this will encourage “local flexibility,” so that districts can focus on completing the district portion of each team’s schedule.

Here is the complete breakdown for each fall sport and their respective start times:

REVISED CONFERENCE 1A - 4A SCHEDULE

SportPractices startGames startDistrict Certification DeadlineState Championships
Team Tennis***August 17October 24November 11-12
Cross County***August 17November 14December 5
VolleyballAugust 3August 10October 27November 18-21
FootballAugust 3August 27November 7December 16-19

REVISED CONFERENCE 5A - 6A SCHEDULE

SportPractices startGames startDistrict Certification DeadlineState Championships
Team Tennis***September 7October 24November 11-12
Cross Country***September 7November 14December 5
VolleyballSeptember 7September 14November 17December 11-12
FootballSeptember 7September 24December 5January 2021

“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said. “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.”

The Class 1A-4A schedule will be called into question in the greater San Antonio area. Mayor Ron Nirenberg has recently announced that schools are not allowed to host face-to-face class or extra-curricular activities until September 7. Although this doesn’t directly impact the majority of the Class 1A-4A schools, some have scheduled early-season games against 5A and 6A schools. Those games will likely be postponed, as a means of prioritizing each school’s immediate district opponents.

This is the case with Somerset High School, the only Class 4A school in Bexar County according to Somerset officials. With the UIL’s ruling today, their season technically begins in August, but the recent Bexar County metro health ordinance has delayed any extra-curricular activities until September. Somerset plans to follow the ordinance and hold off on any practices until after Labor Day.

“It’s tough on us. It’s a rough deal because all of the other teams in our district can start on August 3,” said Somerset head football coach Sonny Detmer. “We’ll be seven games behind people when we actually get to our first ballgames.”

Additionally, the UIL has renamed their COVID-19 regulations as “Risk Management Guidelines” This specific set of rules, closely linked to those currently in use for strength and conditioning summer workouts, goes into full effect on August 1.

Schools are now required by the TEA to develop a means of mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 among the student body. As a result, student-athletes, coaching staff and visitors to the campus must self-screen for symptoms of the virus prior to participating in any UIL sanctioned practice or event. If they have any symptoms, they must report them to their school on a specific document. If they have had any “close contact” with anybody who has contracted the virus, they must report that as well. In both cases, the student-athlete and/or coach must remain off-campus until a 14-day incubation period has passed. Schools are allowed to deny an individual access to venues, practices, rehearsals or games if they fail any part of the screening criteria.

The form for COVID-19 screening is only allowed to ask “Yes or no” questions. Schools are not permitted to collect more in-depth information beyond the fact that the individual is symptomatic. If an individual says that they have been symptomatic, and they meet the requirements for re-entry after the 14-day incubation period ends, all of the forms that detail their positive response will be destroyed.

For more information on the specific guidelines, click here.

MORE LOCAL SPORTS COVERAGE

No face-to-face classes, extra-curricular activities until after Sept. 7, San Antonio health department says

Texas high school students who learn remotely can play sports, UIL rules

TAPPS delays start of 2020 fall sports seasons until September


About the Author: