UIL sets schedule for Texas high school sports this fall

Football practice fields, like one at Cedar Park High School, are quiet, except for a few player-organized workouts. Those there Tuesday were happy to hear the UIL will allow a fall season.

"I was a little worried, but overall I was just trying to keep working to stay in shape and hopefully play later on,” said CPHS football player Casyn Wiesenhutter.

Teammate Cody Marshall said not knowing if there would be a fall season had him down at times, but the UIL decision has changed that. “It's got me real jumpy, ready to go for the season,” he said.

RELATED: UIL delays football, volleyball season for Class 5A & 6A high schools

The guidelines issued Tuesday by the UIL will add social distancing to this full-contact game. Football practice for small school districts, 1A to 4A, will be allowed to start August 3 while larger schools, 5A and 6A, are pushed back to September 7. For coaches and players, practice will involve more small groups, as well as limited contact on and off the field.

"We are going to have to still do the temperature check, we'll have to do the surveys every day, to know who they are feeling, and take precautions if necessary and not practice that particular individual and things of that nature,” said CPHS Head Coach Carl Abseck.

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Games can kick off August 27 for the small districts and Sept. 24 for larger teams. Players say they understand the concept of risk-reward has changed.

"I don’t want to bring it home to my family, that’s the first thing, I definitely don’t want to, but I still want to get the opportunity to play, because I deserve the opportunity, so do my teammates and everyone else, that’s been waiting for the Senior Year, Junior Year, whatever that may be,” said football player Tristan Hervey.

Volleyball in the 1A to 4A category will be the first major team sport to start play on August 10, followed by tennis and cross country. Practice areas for bands will quietly bake in the July and August heat as the start of band practice is pushed back to Sept. 7. Regional competitions for 2A, 4A, and 6A bands will not start until Dec. 3.

The only date change on the high school basketball calendar is the District Certification Date, but there are some hardwood floor modifications. The number of basketball games will be capped at 27. Only two scrimmages will be allowed with no more than four teams. While there will be postseason play, tournaments and showcases will not be allowed.

“If we have got to wear a mask to have a season, you got to do what you got to do,” said Ronald Caldwell who recently graduated from CPHS.

The UIL guidance allows districts to pull the plug on any season if ordered to by a local health authority, and that’s problematic for Austin ISD.  The Health Authority there has ordered all high school sports to be delayed until Sept. 7th, which means AISD schools in the 1A to 4A category will lose a month of play and practice time.

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