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UIL halts events due to COVID-19 concerns

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The University Interscholastic League effectively hit the pause button on all spring extracurricular activities last week, adopting a two-week break for all meets, competitions, matches and games in an effort to curb the ongoing coronavirus.

A UIL press release issued March 13 advised districts statewide of the decision stating, “To support the health and safety of our students and communities, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) is suspending all UIL sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Texas.

“Effective March 16, all UIL interscholastic competition is suspended through March 29. Rehearsals and practices may be held at the discretion of the local school district.

“We are urging our member schools and their communities to stay vigilant and take every possible precaution to remain safe and healthy,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “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.”

“As this is a fluid situation, the UIL will continue to follow the direction of state and local officials to monitor this situation and will make additional announcements as needed. Please continue to check the UIL website and social media accounts for further updates.”

The decision to suspend all UIL sanctioned contests for a two-week period came just a day after the UIL Boys State Basketball Tournament was postponed indefinitely following the conclusion of the 3A Semifinal game involving the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans and Dallas Madison Trojans March 12.

Martins Mill, the only local basketball program to reach the State Tournament this season, was already in San Antonio awaiting a State Semifinal matchup with San Saba at 8:30 a.m. March 13. The Mustangs returned home on Friday afternoon awaiting the UIL’s decision on when or if the tournament will be completed.

UIL Deputy Executive Director Jamey Harrison addressed the matter in a March 12 press conference stating, “This is an unprecedented event and it has escalated at a pace that is just different than any of us has experienced in the past. We don’t have a date in our minds. I suppose by the time next basketball season starts will be too late to finish this basketball season. Anytime in between here and there right now is free game.”

Harrison added, “I can tell you our staff has completed contingency plans for every single state championship that has not been completed, including this one [boys basketball]. I can’t tell you if that will happen next week or next month. We have plans A through F developed and working our way down the alphabet.”

Coaches and athletic directors from across the state will have plenty to decide in the coming weeks with the delay in activities disrupting baseball, softball, powerlifting, tennis, and track and field schedules.