UIL suspends all contests, practices until March 29 due to CoronavirusFree Access

Jourdanton senior Lexi Wheeler throws a pitch during the Squaws home tournament JOE DAVID CORDOVA | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

A little over 24 hours after suspending the boy’s state basketball tournament as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the University Interscholastic League has suspended all of their sanctioned contests.

“Never could’ve imagined it,” Pleasanton ISD Athletic Director Tab Dumont said. “I’m 53 years old and never would I have ever thought the world of sports would shut down. It has shut down.”

The halt on play went into effect on Monday, March 16, and will run through Sunday, March 29. On Monday, the UIL went a step further and suspended after school practices, meaning there could be no athletic-related activities outside of the school day.

“We are urging our member schools and their communities to stay vigilant and take every possible precaution to remain safe and healthy,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a press release issued on Friday, March 13. “We understand there is a lot of uncertainty during this unprecedented time. Please know UIL leadership is working diligently to adjust to this rapidly evolving situation and will share updates as soon as possible.”

Atascosa County coaches have known something like this was in the works following the suspensions of the NBA and NHL seasons, and cancellations of all NCAA winter and spring championships.

“I’ve been on the UIL website all morning,” Charlotte Athletic Director Shawn Vowell said on Friday. “I heard something was coming down the line. … You could see the writing on the walls. You go from the NBA to Major League Baseball, it just trickles down. It’s a domino effect.”

Dumont spoke with the UIL during the day Friday, before the decision had been levied. Although it put a temporary stop to the season, Dumont, as well as all area coaches and Athletic Directors, agreed that the move needed to be made.

“I’m in agreement with what the UIL has done,” Dumont said on Friday.

Pleasanton ISD, who extended spring break through March 20, opted not to hold any practices of any kind during that time out of an abundance of caution for the coaches and players. Dumont added the school district will work to come up with a plan on Monday to figure out how to handle the situation once class resumes, but it will be tough given the fluid and ever-changing nature of the situation.

The Pleasanton Women Eagles soccer team had one match left in their district season and two left in the season before playoffs.The Pleasanton Lady Eagles softball team was about to play their fourth district contest on Tuesday, March 17, before the suspension.

“The big thing everyone is gonna have to follow is when the UIL says [we can resume play],” Dumont said. “I think the UIL did the right thing by saying it’s postponed. But two weeks is gonna tell the story to what we’re doing.” 

Jourdanton ISD Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Darrell Andrus wanted to hold voluntary practices for his student-athletes prior to the UIL’s announcement on Monday. But Andrus couldn’t help but think of the seniors whose season had been cancelled, such as at the collegiate level, and those whose final seasons are in limbo at the moment while the spring sports season is currently postponed.

That’s why he was glad when he heard the UIL opted to initially postpone the spring sports rather than cancel them altogether like the NCAA and NAIA did at the collegiate level.

“We were somewhat prepared for some kind of modification to the schedule,” Andrus said. “I think it’s all manageable to reschedule and postpone, which is good. … Being able to postpone and see how all this develops and where it goes, I think, was a good decision by the UIL as far as giving a date for everybody to focus on. Hopefully, by then, we can clear through this and get back to normalcy.

“Those kids, especially the seniors, are the ones I think of. I was just telling somebody this, look at the kids on the [University of] Dayton basketball team. They were ranked no. 3 in the nation and had one of the best seasons in school history and it’s just final. It’s done, it’s not gonna take place. I think that’s, for us in the sporting world, not the norm. We haven’t seen that. Coming to grips with that would be difficult. So, I think primarily, our seniors are the ones I’m sitting here thinking about, going ‘Man, I hope this thing works itself out’ so we can play a full baseball season, we can play a full softball season, have a complete track season.”

Here is a list of new tentative dates for competition by the UIL:

Soccer: District certification April 11; Bi-District certification April 14; Area certification April 18; Regional Quarterfinals April 21; Regional Semifinals and Regional Finals April 24-25; State Championships April 29-May 2.

Golf: District certification April 14; No change to other dates.

Track & Field: No changes.

Tennis: District certification April 18; No change to other dates.

Softball: No changes.

Baseball: No changes.

This story was updated from Friday’s initial publication.

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