EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It is the same question we have been asking over the course of the last three months: will there be high school football in Texas this fall? Nobody knows, not even the governor.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott acknowledging in a live interview with KLBK in Lubbock, Texas, that the decision to cancel the high school football season is not a decision they want to arrive at, but the rising cases in Texas presents a growing concern for the health and safety of student-athletes.
“In so many regions across the state of Texas, these high school programs have their student-athletes come back to begin their workout process, only to find that many of their athletes are testing positive for COVID-19,” said Abbott. “It poses challenges for teams to gather together. It just depends on what the status of COVID will be at that particular time.”
Last week, the City of El Paso issued an updated order that prevents high school athletics from taking place until September 8. According to the order, all school systems shall not re-open schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after Labor Day. In addition, extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.
El Paso was the first city to act ahead of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), but they were not the last. Laredo and Fort Bend ISD have followed suit with similar orders, despite the UIL saying their plan is to still play a full season with practices beginning on August 3. That will prove challenging with nearly 50 schools unable to participate in competition until late September, at the earliest.
Texas saw record COVID-19 numbers last week, including El Paso. It would appear a lot has to happen between now and the scheduled start of the season on August 27, but the governor is not ruling it out.
“If we can all work together to limit and slow the spread, it might be able to provide the environment where athletics — and things like band and other activities — will be able to take place,” said Abbott.
The UIL is expected to provide more definitive guidance on the potential 2020 season later this month.