East Texas coaches support UIL's tough decision

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - Another move has been made, this time by the UIL. It is the suspension of all competition until May 11th. The decision blind-sided some East Texas coaches, but it's a move they can't help but support.

"We would have had 7,500 people here Saturday afternoon," said Coach Randy McFarlin, Whitehouse ISD athletic director.

He said drones of student athletes, and spectators were expected to file into Wildcat Cat Stadium this weekend, but the stadium will be as empty. The 2-A regional track meet has been cancelled.

"It was a big decision," he said.

Regular season baseball and softball play is also suspended. Along with state academic meets

"I feel sorry for some kids who lost the chance to compete for a state championship spot," he said. "If this is for the safety of our students, then we have to do it."

UIL officials said with the swine flu threat growing, confirmed cases increasing and school districts closing, the move was necessary.

"When you have large numbers of people in a confined area, that just maximizes the chances of an airborne illness being transferred," said Kim Rogers a UIL spokesperson. "Since we have people coming from all over the state who could, or could not be infected with the swine flu, we didn't want to chance any of our student athletes, or our spectators contracting swine flu from one of our events."

"Kind of what we do in athletics is adapt and react," said Tyler ISD athletic director Danny Long.

He said since the decision came down, he's been meeting with coaches.

"We have a softball team involved in the playoffs," said Long. "We still have a baseball team that still has one more district contest this Friday."

Or, at least they were...

"Anytime you're dealing with people's children, you're better off safe than sorry," said Long.

The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools says spring playoffs are still a go, but TAPPS officials say athletes and schools may choose not to play because of health concerns.

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