High School Athletics

Texas college and high school athletic programs report a growing number of COVID-19 cases. It's an unhappy trend that has suspended some summer workouts and raised more questions across the state about fall sports programs.

Van, Carlisle, and Marshall Independent School Districts are a few of the districts that canceled workouts this week due to an athlete testing positive for COVID-19. Spring Hill ISD was another East Texas school to shut down summer workouts due to the virus.

Those schools join a list of other Texas schools that shutdown summer workouts last week due to a positive test, or concerns about the virus. That list includes Burleson, Orangefield, Brownsville, Bay City, and Alpine ISDs, as well as West-Orange Stark, Arlington Martin, and Beaumont Legacy Christian.

University Interscholastic League officials remain committed to a fall sports season – but they aren't making any guarantees.

“The situation is very fluid with the way circumstances and information changes,” UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison said. “We have to pivot regularly on our plans.

“I promise everyone that we are dedicated to having (athletic) seasons this year and getting plans out to schools in time to plan for their activities.”

UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said UIL decisions must follow state guidelines.

“We have to do what's safe for our athletes,” Breithaupt told the UIL legislative council Tuesday during a virtual meeting. “We want to be careful, but at the same time we don’t want to be ridiculous.”

Most Anderson County schools wrapped up their first week of summer conditioning Friday. Though the threat of another UIL suspension looms, coaches remain optimistic about fall sports.

“The UIL has done a great job of trying to work through this,” Palestine Athletic Director Lance Angel said. Angel said he remains confident schools will start playing in late August.

Meantime, the return of summer workouts has affected college sports.

This week, Texas Tech athletics department confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 in its football, men’s track and field, and women’s basketball programs.

Voluntary workouts for student-athletes at the University of Houston have been suspended. University officials said the decision was made Friday, after six athletes tested positive for the coronavirus. The growing number of cases in the city of Houston also affected the decision.

“There's no handbook for this,” Westwood Athletic Director Richard Bishop said. “We're going to live with this for a long time. It may never go away. We can't cut any corners. We don't want to be the reason this thing goes south.”

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