TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The UIL is modifying its 2020 high school fall sports calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest change will be delayed start for 6A and 5A schools while 4A through 1A will start as planned.
From the UIL:
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is presenting modifications to the 2020-2021 UIL calendar and updated COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines, set to take effect August 1, 2020. The modifications to the 2020-2021 calendar differ by activity and conference and can be found on the UIL website and in the chart below. 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. 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. Acknowledging the situation is not always clear-cut and that COVID-19 affects every community differently, the plan also allows for local flexibility and encourages districts to plan for possible interruptions in order to complete district seasons.
The mood on Monday with coaches seemed to be optimistic. With hopes of finally getting the kids back on the competition fields.
“We have a start date,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “We know we can play. Just having that start date we know we can move forward now. I don’t think it will be hard to get our guys motivated since before today they were not sure if there would be a season.”
Playing into the next calendar year will present some challenges but teams are excited. The UIL s;till plans for the 6A and 5A classifications to have 4 teams qualify for the playoffs from each district. The playoffs would start December 10. Regional round games could be played on Christmas Eve or the day after Christmas. The state quarterfinals could happen on New Years Eve all the way through January 2. The state championships are set for January 11.
“We have to keep the guys healthy,” Longview head coach John King said. “That is a long time and I plan on us playing in January. Also I don’t say this to be disrespectful, some of these teams have never played into December. We will have district games in December. They don’t know how to handle a Thanksgiving break. This is going to be different.”
John Tyler head coach Ricklan Holmes sees the longer season as a motivational tool.
“Big Ball games are played after New Years so now I am going to be preaching that to my kids,” Holmes said. “ ‘Hey lets make sure we are playing after new years.' ”
A big challenge will also be for teams to now have to schedule new games. Lindale lost a game against Pine Tree with the Pirates being in 5A while the Eagles are in 4A. Carthage lost three games on their season.
“”I have been on my phone all day trying to get someone,” Lindale head coach Chris Cochran said. “That has been difficult. Trying to find ones that match up.”
“It was not an easy year for scheduling,” Carthage head coach Scott Surratt said. “We were going to San Antonio to play a private school. W picked up Marshall and then also Crosby in a classic down in New Caney. That is three games now to replace.”
Below are the individual calendars released by the UIL.