By Callie Caplan
The Dallas Morning News
The University Interscholastic League legislative council on Friday morning passed an agenda item that will likely lead to a temporary increase in summer instruction for high school athletes and coaches, should a return to in-person sports be possible.
The organization voted to temporarily expand the authority of executive director Charles Breithaupt to make adjustments to UIL rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Any change Breithaupt makes will have an expiration date. They will be specific to combating disruptions due to COVID-19, not to test ideas for future UIL consideration. Breithaupt and his staff will communicate with the legislative council on a regular basis.
The most notable potential change for high school athletics: expanded coaching and workout access during this summer and fall.
Last summer was the first the UIL allowed two hours per week of non-contact, sport-specific instruction between coaches and players, in addition to traditional conditioning sessions.
“Where we restrict access to kids and opportunities for our school staff to work with kids, we fully intend to relax those restrictions,” UIL deputy executive director Jamey Harrison said while proposing the item during the UIL’s virtual meeting. “Give them some opportunity to make up for missed time, whenever it is that we can safely convene again and conduct workouts.
“I expect to see some significant alteration to coaching restrictions, specifically in the summer, and in the fall, as we move forward, allowing kids and coaches the opportunity to make up for as much of this missed time as they have, as we can offer.”
However, the UIL remains uncertain about when it will allow sports operations to resume.
The organization announced in early April an indefinite suspension of all sanctioned in-person activities and two weeks later canceled its remaining spring sports seasons and championships.
Breithaupt said he has received several calls inquiring about the viability of the 2020 football season.
During the meeting Friday, Breithaupt said the UIL will look to examples of other sports organizations — specifically, other states’ high school sports governing bodies, the NCAA and the NFL — while making decisions about resuming practices this summer and games in the fall.
“We are making plans for both the regular start of school and our activities and then if there’s a delayed start, what we might do,” Breithaupt said. “We’re also planning for what might happen if we start and have to stop again. God forbid that happens, but if it does, our staff is up to the task.”