WACO, Texas — Two weeks from the scheduled start of high school football season, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has yet to announce its plans for the fall, leaving coaches, players and fans to wonder what the season may look like.
A decision was expected July 20, but in a meeting with the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) Monday, UIL Athletic Director Susan Elza informed coaches they were not going to announce a plan for the season yet. The UIL last provided an update on July 8 when it released updated guidelines for summer strength and conditioning.
With the season scheduled to begin August 3, high school coaches say they will continue preparing to start two-a-days on that date until they hear differently.
"We want to make sure we're ready and we don't take anything for granted," Connally Head Football Coach Shane Anderson said. "Whether it's August 3, September 3, December 3, it doesn't matter. When they tell us it's time to go, we'll be ready."
Still, the lack of communication from the state's leading athletics organization has left some coaches frustrated with the lack of information.
"You wanna hear something, whatever the plan is," Midway Head Football Coach Jeff Hulme said. "And the plan may change between what they put out now and four weeks from now. But, it would be nice to hear some kind of plan."
While athletic departments continue to wait for direction from the UIL, several county leaders have issued orders postponing practice until September. On July 16, Dallas County officials announced schools within county limits would not be allowed to begin practice until September 8 at the earliest.
That decision could directly impact schools like Midway and Waco High School. Both teams were placed in a district with Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Duncanville when the UIL announced its realignment plans in February. Under Dallas County's order, the District 11-6A schedule could be greatly affected.
"That does impact us because we do play them and they're in our district," Hulme said. "And how it impacts us more than that, I don't know, but I think the UIL is gonna take that into consideration."
According to Anderson, the UIL will make an announcement sometime later this week, likely after the THSCA Coaching Clinic concludes. The final scheduled event at the clinic finishes at 4:30 p.m. on July 21.
Coaches have thrown out several ideas, including pushing the starting date to September 7 or playing a "district-only" schedule. The thought of moving football season to the spring has found little traction, according to Anderson.
One other idea involves allowing smaller, rural schools to begin the season prior to larger schools. This would allow schools like Rogers, who have seen few positive COVID-19 cases, to resume play with little risk of spread.
"Football, volleyball, basketball, baseball... all the sports are kind of the heartbeat of the community. Our athletics is really important to our community," Rogers Head Football Coach Charlie Roten said.
Other states across the country announced plans to delay the start of football Monday. In California, the California Interscholastic Federation pushed the start of football back to December 2020 at the earliest. Georgia delayed its season by two weeks, while maintaining a full 10-game season.
"Everybody wants answers and wants to know what direction we're headed, when we get to start and all those things," Anderson said. "But at the end of the day, we can't do anything until they tell us some more information."
Teams can still participate in summer strength and conditioning drills until the season begins.