The University Interscholastic League has postponed the start of fall sports for only Class 6A and 5A while classifications 4A and below will start on time.

The unprecedented action comes in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that continues to rage in Texas.

The UIL has split the seasons for the top two classifications by a month, allowing football and volleyball to have complete seasons. Cross country and team tennis programs in 5A and 6A will still have a delayed start but compete at the scheduled date for all classifications at the state championship. Team tennis will remain on Nov. 11-12 while cross country is on Dec. 5.

The upper classification championships for volleyball will be moved to Dec. 11-12 while football will be in January without a specified date.

“Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Class 6A and 5A’s first day of practice for volleyball and football will now be Sept. 7 with team tennis and cross country’s first day for matches and meets on the same day.

The first volleyball games will be on Sept. 14 with football starting on Sept. 24. District certification for volleyball will fall on Nov. 14 and football will have until Dec. 5.

The UIL noted it will work directly with schools that have scheduling issues not addressed in the plan to allow schools to complete as many contests as possible.

The plan allows two Fort Bend County schools to start on time, Needville and Stafford, with two additional schools with students crossing county lines to attend in Brazos and East Bernard.

The split schedule directly affects Needville who has already lost a scrimmage and two games to start the season.

Lamar Consolidated was scheduled to be the Blue Jay’s final tune-up with St. Thomas and Santa Fe starting the season. TAPPS delays St. Thomas until Sept.8 and the 5A Indians are out for Needville, leaving coach Mike Giles looking for contests in late July.

The schedule changes come in the wake of numerous metropolitan school districts including Fort Bend ISD have announced they will start the school year online. The month delay falls in line with the Texas Education Agency’s guidelines that allow schools to start the school year online for four weeks.

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