A key hurdle was cleared on Monday when the University Interscholastic League's (UIL) Standing Committee on Athletics unanimously passed a recommendation from the league's medical advisory committee to establish a limit on the amount of full-contact, game-speed practices during the regular season to 90 minutes per week.
The proposal will now head to the UIL's legislative council to be put into action, pending approval from Michael Williams, Texas commissioner of education.
One Cherokee County football coach stated that he believes the passing of the new rule will not change the way most teams do business.
“I think once you get past two-a-days (August) full speed, tackle-to-the-ground (drills) are very limited for most teams now,” Rusk High School athletic director and head football coach Ted Patton said Tuesday afternoon. “I understand the reasoning behind the rule, but I don't think it will make for a lot of changes.”I know we have brief periods where we do full-on, game-speed contact drills, but they are greatly limited.”
The practice limitation was one of three proposals from the medical advisory committee that were placed for immediate approval during Tuesday's meeting. Since the medical committee came into existence 12 years ago, every recommendation from that group has been turned into an UIL rule.
“Personally, I believe this new rule is tied to concussions and is an attempt at trying to reduce them,” Patton said.
NOTE: Jacksonville head football coach Chris Taber was out of the office on school business Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment on this topic.