Texas high school football will be played this fall, according to a release from the University Interscholastic League, the state's governing body for public high schools. The announcement comes one day after California high schools delayed their high school football schedule until December or January with further uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college and NFL seasons.
The fall schedule won't be uniform as it has been in the past, however. Conferences 1A through 4A may begin practices on Aug. 3 and games on Aug. 27, keeping with the previous schedule set by the UIL. However, Conferences 5A and 6A, which tend to be in more densely-populated areas, will delay their season by about a month. Schools classified as 5A and 6A can begin practices on Sept. 7 and games on Sept. 24. As a result, numerous games among different conferences -- more than 100 by one count -- are effectively canceled.
These are not cut-and-dry rules, though, and city-by-city schedules may look different based on COVID-19 outbreaks in the area. Houston ISD, for example, will begin the school year in an online-only format and won't open their school doors until Oct. 19. Houston has become a major hotspot for COVID-19 in the past couple of months.
"Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools," said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt in a statement. "While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread."
The biggest domino effects of these modifications come at the end of the year. Conferences 1A through 4A are still scheduled to play their state championships between Dec. 16 and Dec. 19, but 5A and 6A schools will see their state championships pushed back to January. Given that some high school players opt to graduate early and enroll at their college of choice in January, it's possible some from the 6A or 5A conferences may not be available for title game runs.
In California, players who planned to enroll in college early will have to either opt out of the spring season or arrive to campus in the summer of 2021.