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Support for basketball shot clock, girls flag football proposed - FlagSpin

Support for basketball shot clock, girls flag football proposed

The University Interscholastic League legislative council met for the first of a two-day session Sunday in Austin to review UIL rules and hear new proposals for rule changes.

Sunday began with a public forum where leaders in Texas high school athletics as well as coaches and parents presented various proposals to the council. They varied from introducing new sports to rule changes on issues like eligibility and referee pay.

The council will reconvene Monday to vote on the proposals discussed in the standing committees and deliberate on other topics. Here are some of the proposals and issues on the table.

Ongoing discussion on basketball rule changes

The discussion of adding a shot clock to Texas high school basketball games has been an ongoing one for years now and was discussed again during Sunday’s meeting. Johnnie Carter, the executive director of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, was one of the first speakers and shared updates on his organization’s research into the change.

Carter said the UIL previously told him there was not enough coach support to introduce a shot clock. His organization conducted a survey with 84% of its coaches and found that 62% are in favor of introducing the shot clock.

“There is still much-needed conversation that has to occur regarding the length of a shot clock, the levels of play for possible implementation and the financial impact for each school,” Carter said.

He did not offer a formal proposal to add the shot clock but asked the UIL to offer guidance on how he and his organization should proceed on the matter.

Carter also advocated for additional basketball state championships, modeling their state tournament after football in which there are 12 state champions instead of six.

“We totally understand that it would be difficult to get this done by the upcoming realignment, but we would like to be able to continue this conversation in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

Push for girls flag football

Three separate speakers took the podium Sunday to support a proposal to add girls flag football as a sanctioned UIL sport.

Timothy Rising, a teacher at Cedar Hill, authored the proposal. He cited that eight states already have girls flag football at the high school level (Florida, California, Alabama, Georgia, Arizona, Alaska, Nevada and New York) and that Texas is one that is notably missing.

“I’m a firm believer that Texas is king when it comes to football,” he said.

Rising also noted how Fort Worth ISD paved the way for the sport to be sanctioned, as it launched a girls varsity flag football league at the club level a few years ago with the help of the Dallas Cowboys. He said he’s had conversations with the district about its continually growing participation numbers.

He said some of the benefits of the sport include that it is cost efficient, low impact and would keep the state in good standing with Title IX.

Jason and Amber Klam are the co-owners of Texas Fury, an all-girls flag football select travel team. They also spoke on the proposal.

“Some of these girls have been able to represent their country before being able to play for their own high school,” Jason said.

The Klams said that some states play 5-on-5 while others play 7-on-7 and that Arizona and Nevada play their seasons in the fall while Georgia, Florida, New York and New Jersey play theirs in the spring. Colleges also play girls flag football in the spring.

They also noted that the IOC approved flag football as a sport for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic games.

“With these opportunities continuing to be provided, we believe that it’s only right that the girls will have an opportunity to enjoy Friday night lights just like the boys do here in Texas,” Jason said.

Another proposal to add lacrosse

While lacrosse is a sanctioned sport at private schools across the state, the UIL still does not offer the sport for either girls or boys. Kellie Schindel with the Texas High School Lacrosse League spoke and made a formal proposal to add both boys and girls lacrosse as a UIL-sanctioned sport. She said it is the third time the sport has been proposed.

Schindel said 24 states in the country sanction high school lacrosse as an official sport. The Texas High School Lacrosse League already has a set of bylaws and a playoff format that she said would be in line with what is asked of UIL sanctioned sports.

She said there are 86 boys high school programs in the state and 68 girls programs with 5,300 student athletes participating already.

Call on UIL to make sports more inclusive

Bryan Bristow is the father of a junior high student in Weatherford ISD, who is in a wheelchair. His daughter has played tennis against non-wheelchair players, but he said as she approaches high school, he’s concerned about her ability to compete.

“My fear is that as she gets older, those athletes that are not in wheelchairs will get bigger, get faster, get stronger, and then that creates a problem for a child in a wheelchair to make it to a state championship,” Bristow said.

Bristow pointed out that there is only one UIL state championship for athletes in wheelchairs, which is track and field and was created over eight years ago. He proposed the UIL should add wheelchair tennis but also reevaluate the opportunities it offers for students with disabilities.

“We have an underrepresented group of wheelchair athletes in the UIL,” he said. “We talk about fair and equal, but these children get overlooked. These children have logistical nightmares every day trying to maneuver in a world that is not built for people in wheelchairs. … My challenge to this board is to close this gap. Wheelchair athletes are missing chances to show their talents.”

Bristow said there are 10 colleges that offer collegiate wheelchair tennis, and that if the UIL created more opportunities for those athletes, it could be among the nation’s leaders in producing five-star recruits in the sport.

On Twitter: @Lassimak

Find more high school sports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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