The UIL is laying the groundwork for high school sports to return in the fall.
The organization announced Friday that Texas schools could host summer strength and conditioning workouts beginning June 8. Perhaps more importantly, coaches will also be allowed to offer sports specific skill instructions to their athletes.
“While we are eager to resume UIL activities, we must do so carefully, deliberately and with an understanding that major adjustments are needed to ensure safety,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a statement.
It was a dose of good news for coaches around the Hill Country who haven’t been able to their athletes since March 16.
“We haven’t seen our kids in 11 weeks, so it’s great the UIL has given us procedures to coach our athletes again,” Tivy defensive coordinator Jeremy Hickman said “It’s a step in the right direction and we’re excited.”
There are still no guidelines for full practices, and 7-on-7 football has been canceled this summer. Sports specific exercises will be limited to 15 athletes per session.
Schools must have at least one staff member per twenty athletes in attendance to ensure the latter are following proper social distancing and guidelines. They also must have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations available in the workout area, and disinfect strength equipment after each use. Athletes also won’t have access to shower or locker room facilities.
The UIL also encouraged schools to pre-screen their athletes for any coronavirus symptoms and to record their temperatures before the start of every workout.
“The requirements outline an approach designed to help schools mitigate risk while ensuring students are physically prepared to return to activities in the Fall, should state and federal guidelines allow,” Breithaupt said.
It’s why HIckman isn’t complaining about all the regulations; He’s just excited about the opportunity to work with his athletes this summer.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to get our athletes back into the routine of training,” said Hickman, who also oversees Tivy’s strength and conditioning program. “Coach David Jones and I will be meeting to go over that stuff, but overall, The UIL regulations are not as invasive as we anticipated, but there are some requirements that we will abide by to ensure the safety of all our athletes.