UIL and Tascosa talk travel solutions

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - An area school in unrest after being handed an unfavorable sports schedule is getting some answers to their concerns.

A special AISD school board meeting was held today where the UIL explained to the community this year's realignment reasoning.

Superintendent Rod Schroder is looking to make the best of a not-so-great situation.

To him, that means making a schedule change that will help reduce travel time for Tascosa teams. He's putting that challenge in the hands of the UIL.

They will travel more than any other school in the state to play their district opponents, but the Tascosa Rebels will remain the only 5A school in the Texas panhandle despite AISD's plea to drop them down to a 4A school.

UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison explains, "The appeals committee denied that request because there simply is no policy that we have that would allow a school to be moved from a conference their enrollment qualifies them for down to a lower conference."

The UIL is now working with all the schools in Tascosa's district to come up with ways to reduce the travel burden.

Harrison says, "Neutral sites are certainly an option. You don't have to play basketball in a double round-robin, where you play every team twice, once at each location. You can play once. You can zone it. You can create a four team zone and a five team zone and play just the teams in that zone to create seeding for a district tournament."

AISD has a solution of their own.

Superintendent Rod Schroder says, "If we can get a Friday/Saturday schedule set up, that means students are going to be in school four consecutive days and then a half day before they start their traveling."

But a schedule change brings on a new challenge, getting the majority of the other schools in the district to agree.

However, these options to help with travel time may not help with the other major concern, expenses.

Schroder says, "It's a lot of money and we have to find it. That's part of the concern that we have with our location. It costs us more money to travel. When you look at our athletic budgets, our travel is about 10 times more than the Metroplex."

With all the state funding cuts, that money could be hard to come up with.

They are also looking at long term solutions to alleviate the situation. They are hoping the UIL will consider creating a 6A district or split districts.

To clarify, this realignment is only for football and basketball. The UIL says the realignment for all other sports could bring different results.