Playoffs expanded for 4A high schools in Texas

AUSTIN, TX— Amendments to current UIL rules passed by the Legislative Council of the University Interscholastic League have been approved by Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. The Commissioner’s approval allows the rule changes and amendments to the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules to take effect immediately, and for the 2008-09 school year, depending upon the nature of the amendment.

The protocol, opportunity to appeal a positive test result and penalty structure for the UIL Anabolic Steroid Testing Program approved last week by the UIL Legislative Council, were given final approval by Commissioner Scott on Monday. This crucial step allows for the largest steroid testing program in the country, and the first of its kind for high school students, to be implemented during the spring of 2008. The rules regarding the UIL Anabolic Steroid Testing Program take effect immediately.

Senate Bill 8, passed by the 80th Texas Legislature, and signed into law by Governor Perry in June of 2007 mandates that the UIL conduct random steroid testing of high school athletes in grades 9-12 at approximately 30 percent of UIL member high schools and sample a statistically significant number of students.

Among the changes approved by the Commissioner was the issue placed on the referendum ballot by the UIL Legislative Council to allow an additional team from each district to advance to the playoffs in conference 4A for all team sports. Currently, three teams advance in conference 4A. The four-team format in 4A passed on the referendum ballot with a vote of 186 in favor and 38 opposed. The change will not take effect until the next realignment period in the 2008-09 school year.

Commissioner Scott’s approval also allowed the following rule changes passed by the UIL Legislative Council in October to take effect during the 2008-09 school year:

* Creating a specific ensemble category in music for Mariachi;
* Increasing officials fees in all sports;
* Requiring the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course to be completed by all first-year coaches and any coach who is not a full-time employee of the school district;
* Expanding the Conference 4A soccer alignment from 32 to 64 districts.


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