The University Interscholastic League made a monumental and rather shochking announcement on Tuesday, delaying the start of all fall activities for the state's two largest classifications, including Texas high school football, by five weeks. The announcement does not change the schedule for the smaller classifications.
For Class 6A and Class 5A, the UIL pushed the start of practice, slated to start August 3, to September 7. The first week of Texas high school football games will now happen on September 24-26, four weeks later than the original August 27-29 start date.
This move has major impacts to all extra-curricular activities across the state of Texas, most notably football. The playoffs for the two largest classifications, which were originally slated to start on November 12, will now begin on Thursday December 3. The UIL state championship games were scheduled for December 16-19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington; they are now moving to a date TBD in January.
Untouched for now, though, is Class 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A, which will continue as scheduled — practices will start August 3, games will kickoff August 27-29, playoffs begin November 12 and the state championships remain scheduled for mid-late December.
It's a stunning announcement from the UIL, who usually insists on treating all classifications equally.
Another wild card in this scenario: the UIL must navigate local entities that are putting tighter restrictions on things. For example: Hidalgo County (down in the Rio Grande Valley) and Houston ISD have mandated in person learning can’t begin until much later than the Labor Day start the UIL has implemented. In these two areas, extra-curricular activities (sports included) can’t start until in-person learning begins. Will these schools see an even shorter season (or possibly no season), or will the school districts seek to relax those rules around practicing during the virtual learning sessions?
Looking at the athletics calendar as a whole, this move by the UIL to push back the start of the season may be the last available move to ensure a football season gets played in this school year. There may not be another chance to delay the season further; but due to the size of our state and the varying conditions in individual locales, if the season does move forward with its newly scheduled September 7 start, there’s a chance that some school districts won't be able to field football teams this year if the local health situation does not show improvement.
The situation remains fluid, and TexasFootball.com will continue to follow the story.
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