NW Houston schools expect benefits from UIL rule changes
Student athletes can benefit from the time they are able to spend training with coaches.
Now, thanks to recent UIL rule changes, they’ll get even more time to do so.
The University Interscholastic League Legislative Council met in late October to decide on the proposed rule changes for UIL athletics, as well as academics, music and policy.
Starting next May, football players and coaches in Texas, as well as other sports, will be able to dedicate more hours of training over the summer to prepare for their upcoming seasons.
The UIL passed an amendment that will allow schools the ability to expand the summer strength and conditioning program from six weeks to the whole summer, following a schedule set forth by the UIL.
“From the students’ perspective, I think that all students will benefit from the rule change,” said Ray Zepeda, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District athletic director.
The amendment will permit schools to conduct two hours of sport-specific skill instruction per week with a one-hour limit in one given day.
“I am looking forward to seeing these changes implemented,” said Gene Johnson, Cy-Ranch head football coach and campus athletic coordinator.
Summer strength and conditioning programs are currently limited to six weeks with a maximum of two hours per day of instruction.
Removing the six-week restriction and allowing for strength and conditioning to start on the first Monday of summer vacation will allow for more flexibility with scheduling for schools, according to the UIL. The UIL calendar will also include dates on which no activity can occur.
Being that teams are in the midst of the football season, some coaches haven’t given the approved changes much thought.
“I’m going to visit with my coaches and peers, to hear their thoughts and then we will go from there,” said David Snokhous, Jersey Village head football coach and campus athletic coordinator. “I like the idea of being able to work with our kids from a sports-specific stand point.”
Like other school districts, CFISD will have some logistics to work out in regards to executing the summer program and monitoring the extra time with coaches.
“I think the move is a great move,” said Trent Faith, Cy-Woods head football coach and campus athletic coordinator. “There are some things to work out, such as pay for coaches and logistics. Overall, I think it will greatly benefit our programs.”
According to the UIL, completion dates could vary among fall, winter and spring sports.
Additionally, athletes will not be able to attend more than one two-hour strength and conditioning session per day and coaches will have to find some middle ground by dividing the proposed 10 total hours per week of conditioning and coaching for multi-sport athletes.
“Although I do not yet know the full scope of how this will impact high school athletics, I cannot help but believe that the UIL is doing what is best for the student-athlete,” Johnson said. “For that reason, I trust that these changes will be an improvement to our athletic programs across the state.”
To enhance health and safety measures, the Legislative Council approved rules that require schools to create venue-specific Emergency Action Plans, report catastrophic injuries that occur during UIL practices and competitions, report any time an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is utilized, and to require all 6A schools to report concussion incidents to the ConTex quality improvement project.
Even before the new health and safety measures passed, CFISD has already been trying to report major incidents this season.
“Almost every health and safety measure that was passed we’re already doing,” Zepeda said. “So in regards to submitting concussion information to the ConTex program, that’s something that we’re currently participating in right now and have been doing.”
The Commissioner of Education must approve amendments passed by the Council before they may take effect.
“It’ll be little bit challenging but I think we’ll be able to figure it out and utilize it to our benefit,” Zepeda said.