The University Interscholastic League is looking into the possibility of expanding its classifications as more schools in urban areas continue to grow.
As newer schools like Randle High School, which opens in August, are coming online, the conversation of adding a 7A classification could come in a few years, according to UIL deputy director Jamie Harrison.
Harrison mentioned that a squeeze of schools in the state’s city areas would force the organization to add a new class for the bigger schools.
“As those schools keep adding, I think the 7A conversation is becoming more and more real,” Harrison said.
Harrison made his comments at a press conference during the UIL’s coaching school convention at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
Harrison said that if 7A does happen, it won’t happen until the 2024 realignment period. The UIL’s next realignment will be this coming February and the next in two years.
The goal for the UIL in every realignment period is to have 500 schools combined in 5A and 6A. But 4A has a glut of schools ranging from 515 students to as many as 1,209.
Fort Bend County’s growth of Fort Bend ISD and Lamar Consolidated ISD has created 16 schools in the 6A and 5A levels. But with LCISD opening Randle this year and FBISD planning to open Almeta Crawford High School in the fall of 2023, there will be 18 schools between the two districts playing at the 6A or 5A level by 2025.
And with rapid growth in the area expected to continue, new schools in LCISD and FBISD are scheduled to happen in the future.
The question would be where would a cutoff be for a 7A school, and if any LCISD or FBISD school can make it to 7A. The largest FBISD school is Ridge Point, with 3,039 students, which puts them comfortably in 6A.
But that number is expected to drop more towards 2,900 after Crawford is opened in 2023. Most FBISD schools are around 2,800, with Austin High School barely staying in 6A with an enrollment of 2,234.
But the Houston area has several schools with enrollments well over 3,000 students, especially in Pearland ISD, Katy ISD and Cy-Fair ISD, three school districts that continually grow and build more schools.
Another big football change comes with the overtime period. Now, teams in the first overtime can go for an extra point or the two-point conversion following a touchdown, like normal. But in the second overtime, teams must go for the two-point conversion after scoring. If the game goes to three overtimes, teams will have only one play to score from the 3-yard line, going until there is a winner.
In other news from the press conference, the UIL will add the sport of water polo in the 2022-2023 school year, a year later than it was scheduled.