The University Interscholastic League announced Tuesday morning that fall sports competition in Classes 5A and 6A will be delayed about a month but Classes 4A and below will remain on …
The University Interscholastic League announced Tuesday morning that fall sports competition in Classes 5A and 6A will be delayed about a month but Classes 4A and below will remain on schedule.
Football teams competing in Classes 5A and 6A will start practice on Sept. 7 and play their first games Sept. 24. By Dec. 5, all district competitions will have been completed ahead of the state championships which are scheduled for dates to be determined in January of 2021.
A similar decision to the UIL was made by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) during a July 17 webinar where all fall sports teams had their practice start date pushed back until September but the postseason was not postponed.
Along with their updated schedule, the UIL also released COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines that districts will have to follow when hosting sporting events. Fan capacity will be limited to 50%, student groups such as marching bands, cheerleaders and drill teams will also be allowed but were advised to bring limited participants and all employees, visitors, parents and students 10 years and older must wear face coverings upon entry and when not actively participating in the event according to the Tuesday release.
“These adjustments reflect the public health situation at this time and the varying numbers of COVID-19 cases across different geographic areas of the state,” the UIL said in the Tuesday release. “This plan provides a delay for schools in highly-populated metro areas, primarily conferences 5A-6A, given the challenges with COVID-19 those communities are facing, while providing schools in other areas, primarily 1A-4A, an opportunity to start seasons on schedule.”
The UIL qualified that statement by saying they understand the fluid situation of the pandemic could still create changes in the coming days and weeks but this is the first step to getting districts prepared for the season.
“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said in the release. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread.”
The guidelines also detail the steps to be taken by a district after an individual either shows symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus. It also says for performance areas, band halls, locker rooms and other congregate areas to be cleaned regularly while having ample sanitization stations for all participants.
TAPPS held a webinar last Friday to announce their return-to-sports plan that keeps all sports from starting practice until Sept. 8 with individual sports (cross country, tennis, swim, golf) and volleyball able to begin games on Sept. 21. Fall soccer and field hockey will have scrimmages the week of Sept. 21 and can start playing games Sept. 28.
Football similarly will start practice on Sept. 8, with balls and helmets, before pads and full contact practice begins the following week. Only one scrimmage will be on the schedule for the week of Sept. 21 before games start Sept. 28.
The fall sports playoffs, however, were unchanged and will begin Nov. 12-14 which leaves just a six-week season on the football field.
Clay Richardson enters his fifth year at the helm of the St. John XXIII Prep Lions football team fresh off a 7-3 overall record last year but only a 1-2 mark in district play. This year, St. John XXIII will compete in Division I’s District 2 against Antonian College Preparatory, San Antonio Central Catholic, Concordia Lutheran, San Antonio Christian School, St. Pius X Catholic School and St. Thomas.
The start of TAPPS’ winter sports season was also delayed, with the first day of practice moving from Oct. 19 to Nov. 2. Instead of scrimmages starting Oct. 26, they’ll now start Nov. 9 ahead of games beginning on Nov. 12, ten days after they were originally scheduled to begin. The winter transfer deadline was also made Nov. 3.