Photo: University Interscholastic League

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced on Thursday it is extending its suspension of all athletic contests until Monday, May 4 at the earliest due to COVID-19. The UIL previously announced a suspension of contests, practices, workouts, and rehearsals until March 29. Now, that date moves back another five weeks.

“The UIL is extending its suspension of all UIL sanctioned activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Texas. All contests, practices, rehearsals, and workouts will remain suspended until further notice. At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume on Monday, May 4. Prior to this date, the UIL will allow its member schools a reasonable acclimatization period for rehearsals and practices to occur. All decisions remain flexible and consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials,” the UIL said in a news release.

High school sports affected include boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, track and field, powerlifting, golf and tennis. The suspension also applies to junior high and middle school athletics.

UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said the UIL is still working to conduct state championships in all activities.

“We are working diligently on contingency plans to conduct state championships in each of the activities that have been suspended. While the immediate future is unclear, we are committed to providing these much-desired activities to all Texas students and will prepare for all possible outcomes, including extended school closures,” Breithaupt said.

In a letter sent to superintendents across the state on Thursday, UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison said the UIL is hoping to conduct district competitions.

“Given information related to school closures available at this time, we are extending that timeframe. UIL games and contests will resume no earlier than Monday, May 4th. Prior to that date, to allow students and schools to reenter competition, UIL will provide a reasonable acclimatization period for rehearsals and practices to occur, consistent with the advice of local, state and federal officials. We will reevaluate the beginning dates for practices and rehearsals as we receive more information about schools resuming,” Harrison wrote. “We will be providing more guidance on district and post-season date adjustments related to this extension in the coming days. We will be as flexible as possible to help you complete district competitions and provide your students with all of the benefits that come from competition. Please do not begin to make plans for district competition prior to receiving this additional information.”

bramos@themonitor.com