STEPP: Five things to watch for during UIL realignment
TexasFootball.com high school football insider Matt Stepp gives you some key storylines to prepare for ahead of Thursday's big announcement.
UIL district realignment is coming up this week — Thursday, February 1 to be exact —and the landscape of Texas high school football will be altered in a major way for the next two seasons. The storylines are numerous and wide-ranging, but here are five things to watch for in the upcoming realignment.
Central Texas Crowded in Class 6A
District 8-6A has been a solid seven-team district for the past few years with the four Killeen ISD schools, Hewitt Midway, Copperas Cove and Belton. But things will be different this time around as Waco High, Temple and Bryan all return to Class 6A. That should make things very interesting along I-35. The first option is a ten-team mega-district, but unless absolutely forced to do so, the UIL tends to shy away from those types of alignments. The second (and perhaps most likely) option: a nine-team setup with Bryan going to a Houston-area district, likely with either Conroe ISD or Cy-Fair ISD. A third option: Belton and Temple get sent south with Roudn Rock ISD, leaving the eight remaining Central Texas in a district. This could help Austin have larger districts; remember that they had a six-team district in the previous alignment. The final option is to send Waco High and Midway north to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, perhaps with teams like Waxahachie, DeSoto, Duncanville and Cedar Hill. This may be unlikely, though, since DFW is already crowded with several teams moving up from Class 5A.
Cy-Fair ISD; What To Do?
The Cypress-Fairbakns ISD has grown into one of the state’s largest school districts, and that explosive growth in northwest Houston is going to have major ripple effects in Class 6A. For the past few years, Cy-Fair has had a self-contained district, maxing out at ten teams in the past few alignments. But the addition of the new Cypress Bridgeland and Cypress Park high schools at the varsity level in 2018 will necessitate a few changes, most notably that the district will be split into two separate districts. The likely scenario is that eight Cy-Fair teams will be in a self-contained district, and the remaining four will be placed with outside competition. The big question: who is the outside competition? Klein ISD? Bryan? Spring ISD? Spring Branch ISD? And would the UIL place the two Cy-Fair districts in separate regions as well? Intrigue abounds.
Donna’s Miscalculation Means the Valley May Have a Ten Team District in 5A Division I
A couple of weeks ago, word came out that Donna ISD had miscalculated the enrollment numbers at both Donna and Donna North. North will remain a Class 6A team, but Donna’s adjusted number will now drop them to Class 5A Division I. That means there are now ten Rio Grande Valley teams in 5A Division I, and that’ll likely make a ten-team District 16-5A Division I. That appears to be the only viable option.
5A Split Divisions Could Have A Major Trickle Down Effect
Something to remember about realignment: the entire state is connected – what happens in Amarillo has an impact in Houston, and vice versa. A perfect example of this is in 5A Division II out in West Texas, where El Paso and West Texas have dearth of teams. There are 13 El Paso teams in 5A Division II; that’ll likely mean a six- and seven-team district out in EP, as District 1-5A DII and District 2-5A DII. Move a little further east, and there are just three Division II teams in the Panhandle and South Plains — Canyon Randall, Plainview and Lubbock Cooper. Who joins these three schools in a likely District 3-5A Division II? The best guess is Abilene Wylie (up from Class 4A) and possibly Wichita Falls and Wichita Falls Rider. That’s a long haul from Abilene up to Canyon! If alignment is done this way, you’ll be trying to squeeze the other 105 (approximate) schools into the 13 remaining districts; that comes out to an average of more thane eight teams per district, so you can bet that there will be a few nine-team districts scattered throughout the state.
The Shape of Class 4A Division I Region IV
Over the past four seasons, Region IV of Class 4A Division I has been dominated by one district — the Waco-centric 13-4A Division I, which has produced six of the possible eight regional semifinalists over the past two years…and all four regional finalists. The Waco area is definitely an outlier in the traditional Region IV alignment, and after four years of domination, the UIL could move another district into Region IV. We could see a district just south of Houston that includes El Campo, Bay City and such that moves into Region IV, and the Waco schools move to another region.