UIL rolls out realignment details
By Mike Forman, Special to the News-Journal
July 29, 2013 at 11 p.m.
FORT WORTH – The UIL's biennial reclassification and realignment has always been and will always be about the numbers.
But what's in the numbers is headed for a change when the UIL releases the classifications and districts for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years on Feb. 3.
A new Class 6A will be created, but it won't be a conference of schools with large enrollments as many had thought.
The UIL will simply raise the number of each classification, meaning six-man will become Class 1A, Class 1A will become 2A, 2A will become 3A, 3A will become 4A, 4A will become 5A, and 5A will become 6A.
"I don't think you'll see a whole lot of change in the numbers at the top," said Jamey Harrison, the UIL's deputy director, at the organization's annual Texas High School Coaches Association's coaching school news conference. "But I think you'll see a lot more competitive equity for our smaller schools."
Harrison said the cutoff would be raised from an average daily attendance of 99.9 to 104.9 for Class 1A (formerly six man) in the upcoming reclassification.
Harrison didn't go into specifics about cutoffs for the other classification, but did point out that Class 4A (formerly 3A) would be split into two divisions and have 16 instead of 32 districts like the current Class 1A and 2A.
Harrison and UIL Director Charles Breithaupt admitted splitting Class 4A would create more travel. But Harrison said coaches have told him they are more interested in "equity than travel."
Teams in the current Class 3A and 2A will see the number of playoff teams increase from three to four in the upcoming season.
As a result, the Class 3A, Division I state championship game will be played on the same week as the Class 1A, 2A, 3A Division II, 4A and 5A championship games.
Cousins said the UIL is looking into the schedule for the games. He said the venue for this season's championship games has not been set, but gave a strong indication the games would return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
"Our schools as well as members of the UIL, the public, and the coaches association have been very pleased with the venue for state championship games," Cousins said.
Cousins spoke briefly about safety issues, and said while the UIL is concerned about sudden cardiac arrest it has no plans to make cardiac screening mandatory to participate in extracurricular activities.
Harrison said the UIL's state volleyball tournament is likely to return to the Metroplex after being held in Garland last season.
Harrison also said the state wrestling tournament, which was held at two locations in Austin last season, will likely move.
The boys state basketball tournament will return to the Erwin Center in Austin this season. But Harrison and Breithaupt said unless more hotel rooms become available because of the conflict with South X Southwest, the tournament will have to move.
NOTES: Cousins said the UIL will adopt the NCAA's "targeting rule" for tackling. But the UIL will not extend penalties for players ejected into the next game.
Harrison said the UIL will go through a Sunset review by the state Legislature. Harrison said the UIL welcomes the review, but will spend approximately $200,000 to prepare for the process.
Breithaupt said the UIL is looking into football coaches involvement with offseason activities, such as 7 on 7, but has yet to make any rule changes.
Harrison said the UIL still forbids televising regular-season games on Friday nights, but will allow bi-district, area, and regional playoff games to be televised. Fox Sports Southwest owns the rights to quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games.