EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The start of fall sports in El Paso is in doubt following the City of El Paso’s updated order for all independent school districts and private schools in El Paso County.
According to the order, all school systems shall not re-open schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after Sept. 7, 2020. In addition, extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is the governing body for high school sports in Texas. They say fall sports are still scheduled to begin practices on Monday, August 3, to prepare for a full 2020 season. Per the City of El Paso’s order, that will not happen in the Sun City.
El Paso Independent School District and Socorro Independent School District have both already announced they will comply with the new city order, beginning virtual student instruction on August 17 before moving to in-person instruction after September 7.
This leaves fall sports, at least in El Paso, in limbo. With the Texas high school football season scheduled to begin August 27, schools in El Paso County would not be permitted to even begin practicing until September 8. A total of 18 practices and one scrimmage is required before competition, meaning the high school football season in El Paso would be delayed, at minimum, six weeks.
“If that’s going to be the first day, then realistically probably about Sept. 25 would be that Friday within the 2 week period for the acclimation,” said Chapin head coach Ryan Warner, regarding the earliest possible start date for games.
Depending what the UIL ultimately decides to do at the state level, schools in El Paso are looking at a shortened fall sports season. There is a possibility of being able to compete in district play and playoffs, but only time will tell.
“There’s a lot of questions and a lot of plans. everyone has a plan but none of them match. it puts us in limbo like where do we stand?” said Parkland football coach Eric Frontz. “The UIL is a bit more lenient, but our city government is a lot more stringent so how does that work? What do we have to do to get on the football field safely? Those are all questions that are hard to answer.”
The UIL has not commented on the City of El Paso’s decision to ban high school sports from taking place until on-campus instruction resumes.