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UIL announces updated schedule

The University Interscholastic League has released its modified calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. Conferences A-4A will remain unchanged while start dates for 5A and 6A will be pushed to September. The UIL said the plan allows for local flexibility and encourages districts to plan for possible interruptions to complete district seasons.

Aug. 3 remains the first day for official practices in volleyball and football for A-4A schools. Districts that are in 5A and 6A will be allowed to begin on Sept. 7. The change in schedule does not appear to create any problems for either the Steers football team or the Lady Blues volleyball team. The Lady Blues are scheduled to host Abilene Cooper, a 5A school, on Sept. 22. However, there were other changes that will directly impact schedules for the Lady Blues and Bryson Cowgirls volleyball teams.

For the 2020-2021 school year, tournaments and showcases will not be allowed in at least volleyball and basketball. This effectively cancels the annual Lu Allen Memorial Volleyball Tournament scheduled for Aug. 21 and 22 and the Bryson Tournament planned for Aug. 13 through Aug. 15.

Volleyball teams will be allowed 29 matches for the regular season. No more than four teams will be allowed to meet for scrimmages. The Lady Blues have two four-team scrimmages scheduled for Aug. 7 (at home with Boyd, Nocona and Jacksboro) and Aug. 8 (at Peaster with Brewer, Springtown and Bridgeport). There will be no regional tournaments this year. The regional semi-final and finals will have separate playing dates.

In its release, the UIL states it understands that not all schools will be able to start at the same time. The plan allows for schools to make playing decisions at the local level, and the UIL will work directly with schools that have scheduling issues not addressed in this plan to allow them the flexibility to complete as many contests as possible.

“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Volleyball state championships for 5A/6A have been pushed to Dec. 11-12. State championships in 5A/6A football will be in January with the exact dates to be determined.

Cross country will see slight changes in 1A-4A, as its postseason schedule has been adjusted to align with 5A/6A and the cross country state championships will take place on Dec. 5. Individual meets are allowed a maximum of eight schools and only one level of competition. According to UIL, a school could bring a girls and boys team, but they would need to be at the same level.

District meets will only have one level of competitors on-site at a given time. For example, if the varsity district meet is taking place, JV will not be allowed on-site until the varsity athletes have left. There will be more information released in the future regarding regional and state meets.

Tournaments, with a maximum of eight participating teams, will be allowed for team tennis in 2020. Aug. 17 is the start date for competition for 1A through 4A. Schools in 5A and 6A will begin on Sept. 7. District certification is Oct. 24 with the playoffs starting Oct. 26-27. The area round will be Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. The regional quarterfinal is Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. The regional tournament will be held Nov. 6 and 7. The state tournament will be Nov. 11 and 12. The UIL says additional information will be released at a later time for the regional and state tournaments.

There is one change to the basketball schedule for the 2020-2021 season. The district certification date has been changed to Feb. 9 for girls and Feb. 16 for boys. Practice for girls basketball begins on Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 for boys. Teams will be allowed 27 games and two scrimmages, with no more than four teams on-site for a scrimmage.

The UIL is continuing to work with state officials and monitoring the CDC to make considerations for future changes. Updated information can be found at www.uiltexas.org. The story will be updated as changes are announced.

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