The University Interscholastic League (UIL) indicated Tuesday it hasn’t decided whether school sports will be played in the fall, saying it continues to “monitor the situation” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UIL, which governs scholastic sports in Texas, canceled spring sports seasons as Gov. Greg Abbott closed campuses for the remainder of the school year. What the education and sports landscape will look like for fall remains uncertain, so when San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez made comments Tuesday indicating there might not be high school football played this fall, it caused a bit of a stir.

Speaking via videoconference to the editorial board and education reporters from the San Antonio Express-News, Martinez was asked a question about all school athletics being canceled.

“So UIL will definitely dictate that, … but what I think is going to happen is any contact sports, we’re not going to have any of those for at least the first semester” of next school year, Martinez said.

“… Same thing with performing arts. Any big events I think for the first semester, I don’t think are going to be allowed.” 

When immediately asked if he was saying, in effect, that there would be no high school football, he replied: “Right. Any high-contact sport … I don’t see it happening in the first semester. But UIL is going to give us that guidance.”

Many Twitter users questioned how Martinez could speculate on a decision for a football season that was at least three months away. To try and quell concerns, SAISD Athletic Director Todd Howey weighed in on the SAISD athletics Twitter feed.

“There’s a Tweet or two going around saying that Mr. Martinez, our superintendent, has cancelled fall football and all contact sports,” he said in the short video. “That is incorrect. That is not what he said.”

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Howey went on to state that the district is awaiting “direction from the UIL, but as of today we fully intend to play football, run cross country, and play volleyball this fall.”

A spokesperson for the UIL said via email that the UIL “can’t speak to those remarks” made by Martinez.

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Additionally, the UIL spokesperson provided the following statement: “With the ever-changing and uncertain nature of this pandemic, it’s too premature for UIL to comment on the fall season at this time. UIL continues to monitor the situation and follow the direction of state and local authorities.”

James Courtney

James Courtney is a freelance arts and culture journalist in San Antonio. He also is a poet, a high school English teacher and debate coach, and a proud girl dad.