Huddling together

Courtesy photo

The Boling Bulldogs huddle following a baseball game that they won last Friday, March 13.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) has continued to update athletic director and coaches across the state regarding the coronavirus and its affects on the sports landscape.

On Tuesday, March 16, the UIL released information as it affects school districts across the state.

It’s a dubious start to a week that had looked promising as the month started.

Unfortunately, for many across Wharton County, the state, and the nation, many activities have stopped due to precautions against the coronavirus.

Boling plays last game?

If the Boling Bulldogs’ baseball team isn’t going to play another game this season, then their non-district finale last Friday, March 13 was a good way to go out. For the next two weeks, the University Interscholastic League has shut down all sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 until Sunday, March 29.  

In El Campo last Friday afternoon, knowing this was going to be it for a while, the Bulldogs run-ruled Home school Christian Youth Association 16-6 in four innings.

Boling players began to hear rumblings that other schools and games had been canceled early Friday morning, but it wasn’t until right before the first-pitch that they learned this was going to be it for the next two weeks. 

“We had fun playing our last game for a while,” senior Devin Rodgers said. “We came out here and got a win. Having this time off we’re not going to slack around, we’re still going to practice (when we’re allowed too).”

Jason Wisnieski, Colby Chilek and Sammy Rodriguez all had two hits each in the finale, with Boling collecting 10 as a team. 

While the UIL is slated to allow teams to return to action at the end of the month, both Rogers and Wisnieski admitted they’ve wondered if Friday was going to be their last high school game. 

“We’ve definitely thought about it,” Wisnieski said. “We try not to think about it too much. We’ve got a lot to worry about playing. But knowing it may have been our last game is a scary feeling.” 

“I don’t like it too much, I hope we get to have our whole season,” Rodgers said. “Right now it’s not looking too good, but hopefully, later on, everything gets squared away and we get to have our season.”

UIL communicates with sports leaders

On Tuesday, March 16, the UIL released the following information directed at school officials and coaches.

“Thank you for your patience as we work to navigate this ever-changing and unprecedented situation. As the situation stands, all UIL contests are suspended through Sunday, March 29 due to COVID-19. As new information is released, we will continue to make informed decisions and provide amended plans as we have them.

“We have received several questions concerning practices and spring football. At this time all practices and workouts conducted outside the school day, as well as spring football, are postponed until March 29. During this time, a school shall not conduct practices or use school facilities or equipment. This means that no practices or workouts outside the school day can be conducted during the time period of March 16 through March 29.  School practices include open gyms, open facilities, and open weight rooms. All athletic facilities should remain closed until further notice for both non-school and school activities.

“In the case that spring football is canceled altogether, football workouts would resume on Aug. 3 and teams would be able to add an additional scrimmage.

UIL announces suspension of activities

To support the health and safety of students and communities, the UIL is suspending all UIL sanctioned contests, rehearsals, practices and workouts due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Texas. 

Effective Monday, March 16, all UIL interscholastic activities are suspended through Sunday, March 29.

During this time, a school shall not conduct practices or use school facilities or equipment. This means that no practices or workouts outside the school day can be conducted starting March 16 through March 29. 

During school closures, schools shall not conduct practices or use school facilities or equipment. School practices include open gyms, open facilities, and open weight rooms. All athletic facilities should remain closed for both non-school and school activities.

If school is in session, then normal use of the in-school athletic period is allowed, not to exceed 60 minutes when classes meet every day (300 minutes per week for block schedules). Schools in session shall not conduct after school practices or use school facilities or equipment. (Please reference information above.)

While the UIL is suspending all extracurricular activities as of press-time, they are still planning on returning after the two-week absence. 

Softball and baseball have had no changes to the start of playoffs. 

There are new changes for soccer, tennis, golf and track. 

Soccer playoffs are set to begin on April 14. 

Tennis district certification is April 18.

Golf district certification is April 14. 

Track district certification is April 11. 

Junior high school sports

Junior High sports are under the same restrictions as high school sports, but will not qualify for exceptions to the school week or calendar week limitation upon resumption of play.

Practice limitations

During school closures, schools shall not conduct practices or use school facilities or equipment. School practices include open gyms, open facilities, and open weight rooms. All athletic facilities should remain closed for both non-school and school activities.

If school is in session, then normal use of the in school athletic period is allowed, not to exceed 60 minutes when classes meet every day (300 minutes per week for block schedules). Schools in session shall not conduct after school practices or use school facilities or equipment.  

Eligibility

If school is not in session for a full calendar week or more, all students are academically eligible.

 School week limitation 

Once activities resume, UIL will allow for an exception to the school week limitation for varsity district contests in soccer, tennis, softball, and baseball.

Joshua Reese contributed to this story.

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