By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – Imagine if you will, a basketball team plays nearly 40 games in a season. Said basketball team breezes through the early rounds of the playoffs, makes it through the Regional Tournament and punches its ticket to San Antonio.
This team joins three others – in the same classification – at the Alamodome for a chance at a State Championship. And then – nothing. No semifinals, no finals – no cutting down the nets.
Such was the case during the UIL State Boys Basketball Tournament scheduled for March 12, 13 and 14. The Class 1A and Class 3A teams were able to play their semifinals, but after the San Antonio Cole Cougars defeated the Peaster Greyhounds on March 12, the UIL halted the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopes were, the tournament could be finished at a later date. Unfortunately those hopes were dashed on Friday, April 17 when the UIL announced it was “… canceling all remaining 2019-2020 spring activities and state championships.”
The UIL decision to cancel all spring activities piggy-backed on Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement that all Texas schools are to remain closed to in-person learning for the remainder of this school year.
“Our staff had been working hard on plans to resume activities this spring, but without schools in session, interscholastic activities cannot continue,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt explained
He added, “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.”
In an April 17 UIL press release, it was stated practices, rehearsals and workouts will remain suspended until further notice. The previously communicated information allowing remote instruction remains in place.
Furthermore, the media release stated, “The UIL will continue to follow the direction of state authorities and will work closely with member schools to navigate this unprecedented time.”
UIL Legislative Council Chair Curtis Rhodes said, “I am grateful to the UIL staff for their leadership and dedication to students. Together we will get through this and we look forward to the day students are once again able to participate in education-based interscholastic activities.”
Further details will be forthcoming. Please continue to check the UIL website and social media accounts for updates.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.