UIL forms group to hear competition complaint by Ann Richards School

The University Interscholastic League on Tuesday agreed to listen to a complaint by the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders about unfair athletic competition.

The UIL’s legislative council voted to establish an ad hoc committee to determine whether changes are necessary to avoid mismatches for schools at all levels, including charters.

In February, Ann Richards (enrollment: 414) was placed in District 25-6A when the UIL released its biennial changes to reclassification and realignment. So for the next two years the school will play in a district that includes heavyweight athletic programs such as Lake Travis, Westlake and Bowie — schools with enrollments of 2,700 students or more.

UIL rules call for non-traditional schools such as Ann Richards to be placed in the same classification as the school with the highest enrollment in their school district. Ann Richards, which requested to be placed in a Class 5A district, needed a unanimous vote from both athletic districts but one of the 17 schools — Lockhart — declined the appeal.

Principal Kristina Waugh and Austin school district athletic director Leal Anderson spoke to the legislative council on Tuesday. Waugh, who knows her school will be at a disadvantage for two years, said her girls are prepared to fight.

“They’re ready to slay a giant,” Waugh said.

Anderson said it was a positive day for Ann Richards because the UIL decided to study the case. “They got the ball rolling,” he said.

There were several topics discussed at the meeting.

UIL athletic director Susan Elza said the ad hoc committee has a single mission: “Are we doings things (in reclassification) the right way?”

The legislative council also acted on several other topics:

  • UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said there has been a rise in ejects at sporting events. Therefore, a player ejected from an athletic event must sit out a minimum of one game. For football players it will be the first half of the next game.
  • The committee agreed to revisit homefield advantage in the first round of football playoffs for Classes 4A and below next season. Member want to see how it works this year in Class 5A before making any moves.
  • In a public hearing to begin the meeting, Olympic weightlifter and professional wrestler Mark Henry led a group that aspires to make Olympic-style weightlifting a UIL-sanctioned sport. Henry said the sport “would not take a lot of money” and added that weightlifting “would make every sport in Texas better.”
  • The council also heard speakers who promoted their respective sports. They included water polo, disc golf and archery. Further studies on water polo and disc golf will be taken, according to the UIL. Archery was voted down.
  • The UIL said it will study to add “professionally-produced and licensed” fireworks during football season.
  • A proposal to ban train horns from sporting events will be sent to the medical advisory committee.

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