Just weeks after the UIL announced the decision to allow summer instruction, Texas governor Greg Abbott pronounced the transition to Phase 3 of reopening the state after COVID-19 closures.
Phase 2 allowed sports venues— among other business— to open their capacity to 25 percent. With Phase 3, these businesses would be allowed to increase their capacity to 50 percent.
The main venues in the state expected to be impacted are of course major professional sporting stadiums where the NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, NHL, and more play. College venues are also expected to be impacted. However, with the 100th season of UIL football right around the corner, one certainly wonders what the high school football season has in store this fall.
The 2020 season is already in question. Should there be a season? Will fans be allowed? If fans aren’t allowed will the band be allowed? Will media be increased or restricted? Will coaching staff be allowed in the press box? Will coaching staffs be cut short during games to prevent over population on the sidelines? Will team rosters be restricted in size on the sidelines? Will the season be abbreviated? Will there be playoffs? Will coaches, players, referees, venue staff, media, etc. be required to wear masks during the game? There are so many questions circulating the internet and conversation on a regular basis and none of them have any real answers other than speculation… there have certainly been no answers from school districts and ultimately the UIL.
In the 2020 season, we were expected to see venues such as Globe Life Park (where the Texas Rangers formerly played) host a myriad of high school football games for the first time. Although there are some pretty massive high school football venues across the state, there aren’t many that are quite as large as Globe Life Park. In fact, the largest high school football stadium in the state has half of the capacity that Globe Life Park has.
With smaller schools already having limited space in their stadiums for fans and visiting teams’ fans, should fans be permitted to attend, it seems that COVID-19 restrictions would most likely harm smaller schools the most. The largest schools would still get the benefit of being able to host thousands at max capacity. Will we see smaller schools playing games away from their home stadiums in an attempt to be able to usher in a larger crowd?