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Local coaches facing scheduling challenges due to UIL’s updated calendar

Texas schools know a little more about what their sports seasons are going to look like.

The University Interscholastic League released Tuesday morning new changes to the schedules for some fall sports affecting football, volleyball, cross country, team tennis and basketball.

The biggest change comes in the schedules for schools in classes 5A and 6A, which will have their volleyball and football seasons pushed back a few weeks. These schools will start their practices beginning Sept. 7 for football and volleyball. The first football games kick off Sept. 24 and the first volleyball games will be played Sept. 14.

For 1A–4A schools, football and volleyball start earlier, with practices beginning Aug. 3 for both sports. Football games begin Aug. 27 and volleyball matches start Aug. 10.

Schedules have already been affected, in particular at Port Neches-Groves High School, which was slated to play Jasper on Aug. 28 in football.

“We lost the Jasper game because the 4As are going to start earlier than us, so I’ve got to find a game,” PNG head coach Brandon Faircloth said.

Memorial will try to back up its playing schedule to the new start dates.

“Football-wise we’re basically going to plan on playing it out beginning on that week of Sept. 24-25,” Memorial head coach Brian Morgan said. “That’s kind of the plan right now. It’s making sure the non-district games match up and are going to be open to play that week, so it’s a little bit of hemming and hawing on that.”

Nederland is seeking other 5A and 6A schools that may need to schedule non-district games during the first three weeks of football.

“We’ve got to meet as a district and see what our district is going to decide to do,” Nederland head coach Monte Barrow said. “The UIL in their release said they want the districts to be creative in how they go about things. Right now, we’re just going to assume it’s going to be a 10-game season like normal with three non-district games and try to find some non-district opponents.”

The UIL is still allowing 11 weeks for the regular football season, but the state championship won’t be played until January.

Fans will also still get to attend games, though they’ll need to arrive before stadiums fill up to 50 percent capacity if they want to get in, and they’ll need to have a mask.

All employees, parents, visitors and students 10 years old or older must wear face coverings at areas where UIL activities are taking place if they aren’t actively participating or playing in the contest, or if they meet certain exemptions. Exceptions include those with medical conditions that keep them from wearing face coverings, eating or drinking, swimming or maintaining 6 feet apart while congregating.

The UIL will also allow marching bands and cheerleaders at sporting events, though they recommend schools limit participants to only those who are necessary.

Basketball has been affected, too. The district certification date is now Feb. 9 for girls and Feb. 16 for boys. Games for girls tip off Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 for boys.

There will be a 27-game limit across 17 weeks, and no tournaments or showcases will be allowed.

UIL Sports Schedules

5A-6A Volleyball

  • Start of practice: Sept. 7 (Sept. 14 if no summer workouts)
  • Scrimmages allowed: Sept. 11 (Sept. 17 if no summer workouts)
  • Games begin: Sept. 14 (Sept. 18 if no summer workouts)
  • District certification: Nov. 17 (8/9 weeks)
  • Start of playoffs: Nov. 19-21
  • Start of state tournament: Dec. 11

5A-6A Football

  • Start of practice: Sept. 7 (Sept. 14 if no summer workouts)
  • Scrimmages allowed: Sept. 17-19 (Sept. 24-26 if no summer workouts)
  • Games begin: Sept. 24-26 (Oct. 1-3 if no summer workouts)
  • District certification: Dec. 5 (11 weeks)
  • Start of playoffs: Dec. 10-12
  • Start of state tournament: Jan. 7-9

5A-6A Team Tennis

  • Matches begin: Sept. 7
  • District certification: Oct. 24
  • State championship: Nov. 11-12

5A-6A Cross Country

  • Meets begin: Sept. 7
  • District certification: Nov. 14
  • State championship: Dec. 5