Several changes are being discussed that could bring changes to high school sports in the Pineywoods.
One of the more significant changes could be the way players practice to start the year. A new format is being proposed where teams would let players practice in shorts, shirts and a helmet on the first two days. After that the teams would get three days where they could have minimal pads before going full pads on the second week of practice. This added with a new rule of freshman starting a week early has coaches excited.
"It is a great rule instead of the jump of going from shorts to full pads," Lufkin coach Todd Quick said. "Gradual movement will be good for the kids. Some of the problems are the freshman don't understand because there is a big jump between eighth grade and ninth grade. They don't understand the difference of the work so we are bringing them in and having all coaches there helping them is a big thing."
Other changes among the committees talked about include implementing a division I and II for all UIL sports. Now that is only implemented for football. One change that has already been approved for 6A and 5A football is having home field advantage for the higher seed in the first round of the playoffs. This past season, Lufkin hosted a game with that change. This upcoming season, 5A schools will be given that luxury. The committees does plan on discussing the same set up for 4A all the way down to 1A.
"It really bottlenecks at first on trying to find playoff places," Quick said. "Home is home and you want to play at home and you want to win at home."
While many of the changes have to do with player safety or logistics. There are some changes that could bring quieter stadiums for the fans. The Athletic committee is set to discuss banning train horns from football games. Many teams have them as a way to excite the crowd. Train horns are not used in Lufkin.
"We don't have train horns because I do not like them," Quick said. "It doesn't effect the players. they hear it and move on. It effects people in the stands more than it does the kids."
It is unclear if a decision would be made but if they are banned, fans would not hear horns on August 31 when Longview hosts Lufkin.
"Not sure what will happen but it would be nice if we did not give them a reason to blow the horn."
To see all the proposals, click here.
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