The University Interscholastic League Legislative Council approved the strengthening of penalties for players who are ejected from a contest, modified baseball and softball playoff series and as well as fall practice regulations and spring training for football.
The council also asked the UIL to draft a proposal that would allow biological girls to compete in male sports if they choose.
The council met at Austin Marriott North Hotel in Round Rock.
The Commissioner of Education must approve amendments passed by the UIL Legislative Council before they may take effect.
After close to 1,600 ejections in UIL contests last year (more than double from 10 years ago), UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt promised to address the problem of bench-clearing brawls occurring in Texas high school sports.
On Tuesday, the UIL legislative committee passed a rule that states players ejected from a game will be required to miss a minimum of his or her team’s next game as well.
In football, a player ejected will be required to miss a minimum of the following game’s first half. It will not apply to ejections within the playing rules of the game, like targeting in football. The rule change won’t have any effect on soccer since the sport’s card system already abides by the rules.
The rule will go into effect for 2018-19 schoolyear.
“This is the next step,” Breithaupt told the committee. “If it doesn’t work, we’re going to add more games and we’re going to add the coach, too. We have to stop this.”
In any case, a district executive committee or state executive committee could expand the penalty if it determined the actions by a player warranted it.
Football players will only miss the first half because they play fewer games in a season, UIL athletic director Susan Elza, said. UIL deputy director Jamey Harrison said ejections in football were down compared to the previous year.
The legislature committee also passed two football rules.
The Class 6A and 5A schools will have more time for spring practice. Instead of 18 practices in 30 days, teams now will have 34 days. The first two days must be helmet only. A maximum of 12 of the 18 days can be full contact and only three days per week can be full contact.
Previously there were no contact restrictions in spring.
The second rule changes preseason practice for all classifications. Previously teams were required to spend four days practicing in helmets only before moving into full contact.
Now it will be: two days helmets only; two days in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) but no contact; and a day in shells with limited contact (no bringing a player to the ground).
The rule changes came after discussions with both the Texas High School Coaches Association and a recommendation from the UIL.
Also, during preseason practices not during schooldays: Student-athletes shall not engage in more than three hours of practice activities, with up to a one-hour break, on those days during which one practice is conducted. The one-hour break is not included as a part of the practice time limit. Total time shall not exceed four hours.
GIRLS IN MALE SPORTS
Also, the UIL’s legislative council asked the UIL to draft a proposal that would allow biological girls to compete in male sports if they choose.
Currently, UIL rules state gender is determined by birth certificate and that females are not allowed to compete on a boys team if a girls team in the same sport is offered at their school.
The proposal would not allow biological boys to compete on a girls team and would have no effect on the birth certificate rule.
It’s possible the UIL’s proposal could come to the policy committee in October. If it does, the committee, and then the full legislative council, would have to pass it for it to go into effect.
For postseason two-out-of-three series games in softball and baseball, the current rule only allows the first game of the series to be played prior to Friday. The amendment will allow for teams to schedule two of the three series games prior to Friday. This change will provide flexibility to schools when faced with the challenges of weather concerns, conflicts with other UIL events and the scheduling restrictions created by state law related to state testing.
If one game is played and a second game cannot be played because of weather, then the winner of the one game advances to the next round. If two games are played (and split) and the third game cannot be played on Saturday because of weather conditions, the third and deciding game should be played on Monday of the next week.
The 32-member Legislative Council is composed of school administrators from each of the four regions within the six UIL classifications, and eight at-large members, two from each of the four UIL regions. The chair of the Legislative Council is responsible for the appointment of the eight at-large members.
The council’s duties include hearing proposals and passing amendments to the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules, amending or adopting contest rules and appointing standing and special committees.