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Private schools in the UIL

A bill by Sen. Dan Patrick that would allow private schools to compete in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) passed the Senate last week.

Texas is just one of three states in the country — California and Connecticut being the others — that have separate athletic championships for public and private schools.


For years, the proposal has been met with stern opposition by the Texas High School Coaches Association and the UIL, the governing body of extra-curricular programs for 1,300 schools in the state. As a result, Patrick tried to appease his political and coaching opponents by removing football and basketball from the bill.

Despite the alteration, UIL athletic director Mark Cousins, who was officially named to the position April 20, has not changed his stance about the inclusion of members from the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which has about 250 schools.

“I think you’ll find our member schools support (private school participation) rules as they are,” Cousins said.

The UIL amended its rules in 2003, granting Dallas Jesuit and Strake Jesuit membership after the schools were forced to sponsor independent athletic programs once the Texas Christian Interscholastic League folded in 2000.

The bill is SB1214. My first thought was that it would likely pass the House if it can make it onto the calendar – no guarantee at this late date – but the vote for and against it was bipartisan, so who knows. I don’t feel strongly about this bill one way or another. If the two Jesuit schools above could be absorbed into the UIL without the world coming to an end, I doubt anything horrible will happen if this passes. For sure, as long as football and basketball are excluded it’s probably the case that most people won’t notice the change. But I didn’t go to high school here, so maybe I’m all wrong about this. What do you think?

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  1. chasman says:

    senator dan patrick. hard at work solving the vital problems of our beleaguered state.

    that’s what i think.

  2. byron schirmbeck says:

    while this isn’t even on the radar screen of important agenda items, since you asked, I like competition. Let everyone compete.