The University Interscholastic League brought a bit of clarity to an unclear situation regarding the state of high school fall sports Tuesday.
The UIL announced adjustments to the upcoming Texas high school football season, which was headlined by delaying the start of the season for Class 6A and Class 5A by more than five weeks and pushing the first games by four weeks.
Fortunately, for Anderson County schools, they all fall under the classification of schools who will start as originally scheduled.
First day of football and volleyball practice for conferences 1A-4A will begin Aug. 3. First day of games for volleyball will start Aug. 10 with the district certification deadline coming Oct. 27.
Team Tennis and Cross Country first games can begin Aug. 17. District certficiation for Tennis will be Oct. 24, while cross country will come Nov. 14.
Untouched for now – football in Anderson County who has teams in 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A – will continue as scheduled. Practices will start Aug. 3, games will kickoff Aug. 27-29, playoffs begin Nov. 12 and the state championships remain scheduled for mid-late December.
In the UIL's COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Guidelines released along with the fall sports announcement, they also tackled how fans and media will be handled this upcoming season.
Per the guidelines, “schools may allow spectators to attend games, contests, or events within a maximum 50% capacity limitation, provided that appropriate spacing between spectators is maintained according to the protocol...”
All employees, parents, visitors and students ten years of age or older must wear face coverings or face shields upon entry to an area where UIL activities are being conducted and when not actively practicing or playing in the contest, unless an exception listed below applies.
Exceptions to the wearing of face coverings or face shields include:
Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
While a person is consuming food or drink;
While the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water.
When a congregating group of persons maintains at least 6 feet of social distancing; or
Any other reason or circumstance indicated under Executive Order GA-29.
The coronavirus pandemic posed a unique challenge for the UIL to ensure some resemblance of normalcy returned to Texas sports in the fall.
On Monday, the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, announced that the fall sports season is being delayed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Perhaps this is the final step the UIL can make to ensure a football season is played in this school year. Speculation of moving the season to the spring was shot down in the earlier weeks as many coaches were not confident that would pose the best results.
Though we have some clarity on how the Texas football schedule will look, the situation is fluid and additional changes could be made if the public health crisis calls for the UIL to do so.