By JUSTIN RAINS
The University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) Legislative Council made some broad, far-reaching changes Monday that will affect a lot of squads in the Dogwood Circle.
The biggest change adds a fourth playoff team for all team sports in Class 3A and 2A, beginning Aug. 1. This means that Palestine’s District 19-3A will send four of its five teams to the postseason.
“For us, the good thing would be a two-team big school, so now if you win a district title...you’re fate isn’t set,” PHS coach Lance Angel said. “We’ll do what the UIL says and, really in the long run, what difference does it make? It all washes out in the end and you end with one state champion big school and one state champion small school.”
The UIL also approved the renaming of conferences and the creation of a Class 6A.
The current Class 1A, Division II — of which Oakwood is a member — will now be Class 1A. Class 1A, Division I — which includes Cayuga, Grapeland, Slocum and Neches — will now be Class 2A when this change takes affect Aug. 1, 2013 for the 2014-2016 realignment.
Class 2A will now become Class 3A, while Class 3A — Palestine’s current classification — will become Class 4A, and so on.
Another addition that will affect locals is the addition of a Class 3A for soccer. Up until now, Class 3A teams like Palestine have been lumped into district’s with Class 4A teams likes Jacksonville and Nacogdoches, while Class 5A teams had their own class.
Now, the Wildcats and teams of similar size will be in a different class, beginning again with the 2014-2016 realignment.
One other possible change was put into the hands of Class 3A superintendents, who will vote on whether to split their classification into two divisions.
The Division I and Division II split has already occurred at the 1A and 2A level, and Angel thinks it’ll make its way to Class 3A as well.
“There’s advantages if you’re a smaller 3A, but it’s a disadvantage somewhat if you’re a bigger 3A,” Angel said. “I think most will vote for is because more will feel like they’re at an advantage if they’re in a small school bracket.
“But, we’ll line up and play against whoever they align us with, and we’ll roll with it.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com