New UIL Rulings Alter Football Landscape

A series of new rulings announced by the UIL Legislative Council on Monday will have some major effects on Texoma football and other high school sports.

Here's a quick, hopefully understandable breakdown:

  • Effective this season, all playoff football games may be televised, as long as both teams agree to it. Presumably this would also apply to video webcasts, which is more likely to affect Texoma teams. Before, no Friday games could be televised unless they were sold out.
  • Starting in 2013, if approved by the Commissioner of Education (a formality), 4 teams will advance to the playoffs in all sports from Classes 2A and 3A. That means in District 5-3A, four of five teams will advance next season. In District 5-2A Div. I it will be four of seven, and in 5-2A-II it will be four of six.
  • There will be a referendum ballot of Class 3A superintendents asking to split Class 3A into two divisions, similar to how 2A and 1A are currently split. If approved it would go into effect for the 2014-2016 Realignment.
  • A Class 6A will be added, but it will be in name only. Essentially, Class A Division II (Six-Man) will be named 1A, Class A Division I (11-Man) will be named 2A, and so on, with current Class 5A becoming 6A. This also takes effect for the 2014-2016 Realignment. This will also affect basketball, cross country, track & field, golf and tennis.
  • There will be a new Class 3A for soccer, which will mean Hirschi and Burkburnett will compete against other teams more their size, and Rider and WFHS will travel more to the Metroplex. No word yet on whether other Texoma 3A teams (Vernon, Iowa Park & Graham) will add soccer teams.

One of the biggest things to note are that the 4-teams model starts next season, in the middle of this current realignment, which really will change the way district races look, especially for teams like Hirschi, Burkburnett and Iowa Park. Only the last-place team will miss the playoffs in that district.

Another interesting note is that current 3A superintendents will be surveyed about the split into divisions, but it will be current 2A schools that will feel the effects. Of course, they're already accustomed to the split.

It is possible that 3A could be split into divisions for 2013, which could split up 5-3A with Burkburnett being the only school in the district significantly larger than the 3A average enrollment.

It will be interesting to see how the 3A split affects basketball districts, possibly breaking up rivals Burkburnett and Hirschi.