A GLIMMER OF HOPE

UIL sets path for summer workouts to return in June


Jourdanton receiver Jarel Lilly hauls in a pass during the Indians Area Round playoff game against the Halletsville Brahmas on Nov. 22, 2019. On Tuesday, May 19, the UIL announced their intention to allow schools to start summer strength and conditioning workouts on June 8, nearly three months after initially suspending the spring state championships before cancelling the spring season on April 17. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Jourdanton receiver Jarel Lilly hauls in a pass during the Indians Area Round playoff game against the Halletsville Brahmas on Nov. 22, 2019. On Tuesday, May 19, the UIL announced their intention to allow schools to start summer strength and conditioning workouts on June 8, nearly three months after initially suspending the spring state championships before cancelling the spring season on April 17. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The University Interscholastic League has given a glimmer of hope for the fall sports season.

In response to Governor Greg Abbott’s May 18 mandate allowing youth and professional sports to return on May 31, the UIL said on Tuesday, May 19, summer workouts can tentatively begin on June 8.

“It’s just great news to see things heading in a positive direction,” Jourdanton Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darrell Andrus said.

The target date was sent out to coaches and Athletic Directors in an email from UIL Director of Athletics Dr. Suzan Elza.

“UIL is aware of Governor Abbott’s announcement yesterday (Monday),” Dr. Elza’s email read. “We are currently, and have been, working with the appropriate state officials to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning on June 8, 2020.”

The email went on to say that details surrounding the summer workouts would hopefully be finalized and sent out to schools by the end of the week. Those details are likely to include restrictions such as group size and whether or not workouts must be conducted outside to observe the current public health recommendations.

Pleasanton setter Tess Underbrink sets up an attack in a match against San Antonio Sam Houston in the fall of 2019. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Pleasanton setter Tess Underbrink sets up an attack in a match against San Antonio Sam Houston in the fall of 2019. J GARCIA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

“This email was good,” Andrus said, “but I’m really looking forward to the email [Dr. Elza] sends out with the June 8 plan and what we’re going to be allowed to do. I’ve spoke with several Athletic Directors today and we think we’re gonna see some form of restrictions as far as how many people, inside or outside workouts, those type of things. I’m real excited to get the information and then get a plan together and get to work.”

For the coaches who have gone a little over two months without being able to train their athletes in person, the UIL’s announcement on Tuesday is a hopeful sign of a full fall schedule.

Poteet Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darby House and his staff were facilitating locker clean outs for their student-athletes on Monday. The kids kept asking when they’d be able to come back.

“I told them to hang tight and we’ll get some news soon. I didn’t realize it would be this soon that we got the news,” House said. “I’m definitely not complaining about it.”

The news means schools may be able to gear up for football and volleyball in the fall. Starting workouts later than this could have meant a drastic downside for the fall sports.

“You’ve gotta hit the weight room hard. You’ve gotta get after it — conditioning and everything,” House said. “Without the weight room, without conditioning, without seeing your kids, you feel like you’re falling behind. I understand everyone’s in that situation. It doesn’t matter, that’s the way you feel. … This is a bright note, an exciting day.”

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