Waterpolo delayed as school sport

The UIL athletic committee has made a unanimous decision to delay the start date for UIL Water Polo from the previously scheduled 2021 start date to the 2022 school year.

Last year, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced that they would officially be recognizing water polo as a UIL sport, after many years of debate on whether it should be or not. When a sport becomes officially titled as a UIL sport, there are many rewards that come with this decision that are not available for non-UIL sports. Some of the distinctions between a non-UIL sport and a UIL sport is that the latter is allowed to hold practices during the school day as a class, coaches are paid by the school district, teams are funded by the schools, and coaches must also be full time employees at the school they coach at. Due to it becoming extremely popular, the UIL made a decision to recognize it as a UIL sport.

In October, the UIL Legislative Council voted to postpone the first UIL water polo season to 2022 due to COVID-19 issues. One of the main reasons behind this decision is that COVID-19 has brought many challenges to schools and districts for all sports, and that adding a new sport during this time would create even more challenges.

Following their decision, the UIL assured the TISCA Water Polo Board-the biggest school water polo league- that water polo will still be recognized as a UIL sport, and that the inaugural season will begin in fall 2020. With this decision, the high school water polo season will be held by TISCA in spring of 2021 and spring of 2022. Once the spring 2022 season concludes, the sport will be handed over to the UIL.

Susan Elza, the UIL’s Director of Athletics, came out after the council’s decision to express how the decision will benefit the sport and the league for the future. She expressed how the postponing will allow for Texas high school water polo teams to grow, for more high school’s to adopt a water polo team, for more referees and coaches, and for better venues to be built.