UIL cancels remaining spring sports amid coronavirus outbreak

The lights shine over the Pleasanton softball field at the Eagle Sports Complex as part of the #BeTheLight movement. On Friday, April 17, the UIL announced the cancellation of all remaining spring sports. SAM FOWLER | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

The University Interscholastic League announced on Friday, April 17, that its remaining spring sports have been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.

The decision came hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced schools would remain closed and teaching would remain online for the remainder of the school year.

“Our staff had been working hard on plans to resume activities this spring, but without schools in session, interscholastic activities cannot continue,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “Our highest priority during this challenging time is ensuring the health and safety of our students and communities and making progress in the containment of COVID-19 in Texas. We are now turning our attention to the 2020-2021 school year.”

A little over a month ago, the UIL suspended the boy’s basketball state tournament before announcing the initial suspension of play on Friday, March 13.

The decision came as no surprise to area coaches and Athletic Directors.

“With everything going on in the world right now, I had a feeling it was coming,” said Pleasanton Athletic Director Tab Dumont. “I was hoping that it wasn’t, but I had a feeling it was coming.”

As the UIL continued to postpone resuming the season from March 29 to May 4 then to after May 4, the possibility of the season returning became less and less likely. The coaches started to realize the possible cancellation was getting closer to an inevitability.

“As an Athletic Director, I think you’re used to adjusting schedules for things that are out of your control, similar to this, like weather or a testing situation. You never know, you’re always adjusting schedules,” Jourdanton Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darrell Andrus said. “I think we were all just chomping at the bit to adjust our schedules and get rolling and compete. It really hits you in the gut that we’re not gonna get these schedules adjusted.”

Dumont expressed how bad he felt for the seniors in his program, a sentiment that was echoed by other area coaches. Most of those coaches were athletes themselves and struggle to put themselves in the shoes of their seniors, who are looking for closure for this abrupt ending to their high school careers.

“I honestly can’t envision it,” said Poteet Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darby House. “I never had anything truly ripped away like that. This is uncharted territory. It’s not fair to these kids, it’s not fair to anyone. I can’t empathize with these kids because I’ve never had anything like that happen to me as an athlete. As a coach, it stinks. But, we’ll have another year as a coach. These seniors, they don’t get another year.

“It’s just a dagger through the heart, especially with the two seniors [Mercedes Sanchez and Julissa Cantu] I had on my team. That’s who I feel for,” Charlotte Athletic Director and Head softball Coach Shawn Vowell said. “Don’t get me wrong, next year is gonna be beautiful. But I feel for [Mercedes and Julissa].”

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