Column: UIL Realignment Makes No Sense Yet Again
SAN ANGELO, TX-- As author Douglas Adams once said, "It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem."
Once again the University Interscholastic League made a hash of their biennial realignment that was announced on Thursday.
Before the Feb. 1 announcement, all signs pointed to "The Little Southwest Conference" getting back to full strength with Abilene supposed to rejoin Amarillo Tascosa, Central, Midland, Midland Lee, Odessa, Odessa Permian and Wolfforth Frenship.
Well, as was announced at the Region 15 Academic Services Conference Room, Central and Abilene will be in the same district from 2018-2020. Sounds like a good deal, right? Right, sort of.
While Central gets a familiar opponent with the Eagles, they were aligned into District 3 for all sports which is comprised of Fort Worth area schools Euless Trinity, Haltom City Haltom, Hurst Bell, North Richland Hills Richland and Weatherford.
Part of the UIL's mantra when deciding realignment is avoiding class time missed. Well, aside from the inter-Fort Worth games where travel will be 30 minutes or less, there's going to be plenty of class missed for teams having to travel to Abilene or San Angelo. This is where the UIL got it wrong.
The UIL also gifted San Angelo Lake View a playoff spot for the next two years by putting them in District 2-4A Division 1 with three other teams (Andrews, Big Spring and Seminole). The geographic locations for Lake View's opponents is as logical as you can get here in west Texas. However, the UIL made a four team district, something not many people around Texas high school football though would happen in 11-man football.
But then you move down to 3A Division 1 where it was widely thought the Wall Hawks were going to be aligned in to a district with Lubbock area schools like Shallowater and Slaton. Instead, the UIL got it right by factoring in travel distance and sliding Wall into District 3 with Breckenridge, Clyde, Early, Eastland and Tuscola Jim Ned.
Meanwhile, in 3A Division 2, Sonora and Brady were aligned in Region 4 District 13 with Blanco, Comfort, Ingram Moore and Johnson City LBJ. In Region 1, where Sonora and Brady use to reside, Reagan County drew the short stick in the four team District 1 with Anthony, where mileage in the state begins. Reagan County's old district partners Ballinger and TLCA got a better deal in District 4 with Anson, Bangs, Cisco, Coleman and Mekel in the Big Country.
Then you move down to Class 2A Division 1 where Mason, the most eastern west Texas school, and Junction were placed in Region 4 once again with schools from south and south-central Texas. But their district is about the same in terms of travel with Brackettville Brackett, Center Point, Harper and Sabinal.
Class 2A Division 2 Region 2 is also an area where travel/missed class time was factored in as District 8 is made up of Christoval, Eldorado, Miles, Menard, Irion County and Rocksprings. Rocksprings is one of those outliers that didn't really have anyone close to them in any region for Class 2A Division 2.
Moral of this story: nothing makes sense and even us sports journalists don't know what will happen when it comes to things like realignment.