In a recent Executive sesssion with the University Interscholastic Laegue (UIL) the committee announced several rule changes plus another football season
One of the major changes to the rules was to comply with Texas House Bill 2721 of the 87th Legislation Session. HB 2721 was signed into law by Governor Abbott and UIL’s Executive Committee needed to amend their rules on assaulting a sports official to fit the new law. The new law stems from an incident that occurred last football season with high school football player Emmanuel Duron who played for Edinburg High School. Duron was ejected from a game by the head official Fred Garcia after two unsportsmanlike penalties. As Duron was about to leave the field, he turned around and charged Garcia and flung him to the ground where Garcia suffered a shoulder injury and a concussion.
This incident prompted state legislators to act on this. According to UIL, they needed to amend their rules to the new law. Now under Section 33.081 of the Texas Education Code it will now require a high school student who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury” to a contest official or judge to be suspended from all UIL activities for a minimum of two years. This includes not only UIL sports activities, but academic as well. This new rule will clarify that the UIL State Executive Committee has the authority to sanction a school and/or team when a student commits an assault on a sports official. Plus, this rule will require ISD’s to begin policies, if they do not already have them and expand if they do, for preventing a spectator who assaults a sports official from attending future UIL events. However, these policies do not need to be approved by or submitted to UIL.
Next on the committees agenda was to conform to another state law that was imposed by the 87th Legislature. This one had to do with home school student and extracurricular activities that are sanctioned through UIL. The Texas House Bill 547 was passed and related to allowing public schools to provide UIL participation opportunities to homeschool students. This law required UIL to change several of their rules. Here are a few highlights from the changes.
Schools will be able to decide locally, whether the school will allow homeschool students to participate in UIL activities. Schools opting to allow homeschool students to participate in varsity athletics for the 2021-2022 school year must notify their District Executive Committee(s) (DEC) and the UIL by August 1, 2021. UIL is to release information soon related to the notification process. Also schools that decide to allow such participation after the August 1 date, those students would be eligible for academics, music and sub-varsity athletic activities only for that school year.
Like regular UIL rules about transfers playing in other schools, a non-enrolled (homeschool) student may only participate in UIL sanctioned activities for the school in which the students residential address is. Homeschool students will be subject to be in compliance with Section 442 of the C&CR just like all in school student are. Also, for any homeschool student who has moved into the school’s attendance zone within the previous twelve months, a DEC hearing will be required for the student to be eligible for varsity athletics participation.
The UIL Legislative Council did not pass any rules regarding how allowing homeschool participation will impact a school’s enrollment for UIL reclassification and realignment purposes. According to UIL, the Council will continue to discuss those potential rule changes and UIL will release that information once it is finalized, likely at the October meeting of the Legislative Council. For more info on home school student participating in UIL events click here.
Moving on to the next issue was to allow ISD’s to video stream or telecast varsity football games. During the COVID-19 pandemic, UIL temporarily suspended Section 868(c) of the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, which prohibits live telecasts of regular season football games on Friday. The suspended rule only allowed a certain broadcast company to telecast a high school football game. But due to the idea that many spectators would not get to go to the games because of COVID protocols, UIL felt it was necessary to allow schools to video stream the football games for spectators to watch. Fast forward to this football season and UIL has extended their suspension Section 868(c).
Brownfield ISD Superintendent Chris Smith said this about UIL’s decision, “Last year when the UIL allowed streaming of live events to occur it opened the door to a new era of HS sports. Streaming allows BISD to grow our reach like we did last year. I think it’s great for HS football and HS sports in general. Smith also went on to say, “They were wise to allow it to continue. It was very popular last year.”