During the last few days, Tivy baseball coach Chris Russ has spent much of his time visiting SportsYou, a messaging app that allows high school coaches across the state to communicate with each other.
The Tivy baseball coach noted many of the coaches using the app have sources in the University Interscholastic League. And they’ve all heard the same thing:
The UIL doesn’t want to cancel the spring sports season. At least, not yet.
The organization originally suspended spring sports from March 16 to March 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but later extended that suspension to May 4. The general assumption was high school sports would eventually be canceled for the school year. Russ, though, has been told that the UIL is trying its best to salvage the spring season. Tivy track coach Kevin Pope has heard similar rumblings from his coaching colleagues.
“They don’t want to scrap the season,” Russ said on Wednesday. “I have the hope that we will get some sort of season finished. Maybe that’s just the optimist in me thinking. I’m just trying to stay positive.
Not every coach is nearly as optimistic.
Center Point athletic director Bubba Walters emphasized that even if Texas schools eventually reopen this spring, there will still be several problems to solve before high school sports can resume.
Walters said since UIL suspended nearly two months of athletics, the league would likely have to extend its spring seasons into late June if it did decide to resume play. The majority of Center Point’s athletes have summer jobs or join the armed forces during the summer after graduation. Their spring seasons, then, would interfere with those responsibilities.
That’s why the UIL would probably have to abbreviate its spring seasons. UIL’s baseball playoffs last for six weeks, as teams typically have the option of playing either a one-game or three-game series for each round until the state semifinals. But if baseball did resume on May 4, teams would likely have no choice but to play one-game series for the entirety of the playoffs, Russ said.
Pope mentioned that the UIL will likely cancel either the district or area meet for track and field. That means there would only be three remaining meets: district or area, regional and state meet.
But even this approach is problematic for smaller schools like Center Point, whose athletes play multiple sports. If spring sports restart on May 4, teams will likely have to play several times a week just to finish the season in a timely fashion. This crammed schedule will further increase the workload of athletes already trying to balance playing multiple sports.
“Kolten Kitchens runs track, plays golf and plays baseball. How is he going to get all that done, plus school work?” Walters said of the Center Point junior. “If you look at Harper, Junction, Comfort, Bandera, Medina, Center Point, the athletes do everything, or they do a lot of stuff. … I don’t know how they would be able to do it all. I hope they have a plan, I really do. I am trying to be optimistic. Just timewise, I don’t know how it would happen.”