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UIL Football Changes Could be on Horizon

If there is one thing the University Interscholastic League likes to do, it’s make changes.

Major changes in the football landscape are on tap for the next two seasons as the UIL seeks to keep up with the ever-changing growth patterns in the state.

For the 2013 football season, Conference 2A and 3A will add an additional playoff team from each district, and in February the biennial alignment results will be released for the following two-year term.

Message board traffic concerning the playoff team addition has been mixed with those in favor of the move mostly taking the position that a postseason award to a fourth place team will encourage more participation in the sport and increase community support.

Some opposition arguments are that posters don’t want high school football to take on the everyone-gets-a-trophy policy of sports for younger ages.

It must be noted that some see the change to a four-team playoff format as just a money thing for the UIL (the league gets 15 percent of all playoff revenue.)

It brings to mind a favorite phrase: when someone says it’s not about the money it usually is.

Adding a fourth playoff team to some districts will not be favored by those who don’t feel that rewarding a team with a losing record is a good policy.

In our area there are several five-team Conference 3A districts. District 12-3A is currently made up of teams from Anna, Bonham, Community, Melissa and Princeton. Beat one district opponent in that league and you are pretty much assured of a post-season berth.

The two largest school classifications in Texas — 4a and 5A — have had a four-team playoff format for several years and, according to my very limited research, no fourth place team has ever advanced to the state finals. These teams are usually opening-round fodder for district champions.

Realignment is always a contentious procedure and one the UIL takes on every two years to balance — or make its best attempt to balance — the enrollment figures for schools in each classification.

Currently, Texas has five classifications and schools in those groups range from the less-than-100 enrollment in some rural areas to behemoths such as Plano East. The last enrollment figures for the Plano school showed more than 6,000 kids roaming the halls.

Think about this: Allen has more kids in its band than Van Alstyne and Howe combined have enrolled in high school.

A couple of years ago, in order to balance out the numbers, the UIL created Divisions in Class 2A and 1A. That change still leaves big gaps in some enrollment numbers but not as pronounced as before.

One rumored change is a creation of a sixth classification to make enrollment numbers more equitable throughout the state.

Whatever comes out of the February proceedings in Austin, rest assured the results will be cussed and discussed for the next two years.

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