Texas increases staff-to-player ratio for high school football workouts

texas high school football
gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

Starting June 22, high school football teams in Texas will be allowed increase how many players can workout with coaches at one time during summer conditioning workouts. Summer workouts resumed on Monday, but on Tuesday, the University Interscholastic League announced updated guidelines that increase the coach-to-player ratio in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two weeks from Monday, the UIL states that indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 50-percent, which is an increase from 25-percent.

From the UIL:

The following changes to the COVID-19 Strength and Conditioning and Sport Specific Instruction are approved for athletics:
• 50% indoor capacity approved beginning 6/22/20
• Increased group sizes approved beginning 6/22/20
• The 20:1 student to staff ratio is removed effective immediately

Below are the guidelines, word-for-word, on the UIL website:

Requirements for all Workouts

Consider having an individual wholly or partially dedicated to ensuring health protocols are being successfully implemented and followed. Schools must follow all requirements of state and local authorities in addition to the requirements below:

  • Attendance at workouts must be optional for students and in compliance with the rules for Summer Strength/Conditioning Programs & Sport Specific Skill Instruction noted below. In addition to on-campus workout options, schools should consider providing students guidance for working out at home or remotely away from school. This can include virtual workouts, emailed or otherwise electronically delivered workout instructions, or any delivery model approved by the local school district.
  • Attendance records shall be kept, however, students shall not be required or allowed to make up missed days or workouts.
  • Fees, if any, shall be established by the superintendent and collected by the school. Any payment to coaches shall be from the school and from no other source.
  • Students may not be given access to locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at end of the workout.
  • Schools must have hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations readily available in the workout area.
  • Students and staff should be encouraged to use it frequently.
  • All surfaces in workout areas must be thoroughly disinfected throughout and at the end of each
  • day.
  • No clothing or towels may be laundered on site or shared during workouts.
  • There can be no shared water or food.
  • Before the start of summer workouts, and at the start of every week of summer workouts, schools should consider pre-screening all students for COVID symptoms that they or others living in their house may experience. This can be completed by phone prior to the first day of workouts, in person or in writing. Students and staff must self-screen every day for COVID-19 symptoms for themselves and family members. Schools should consider taking the temperature of each student each day at the start of the conditioning sessions, if possible.
  • Schools should plan for entry and exit procedures that reduce the number of students and parents congregating outside and/or mixing around the workout areas and parking areas. Consider staggering start and end times, assigning students to entries and exits to ensure even distribution of students entering/exiting at each entry point, providing guidance to students to enter one at a time and wait six feet apart outside the entrance.
  • If the school is planning to offer transportation for summer activities, schools should follow all TEA guidance and local guidance related to such transportation.

* Schools should consider having students remain with a single group or cohort to minimize the number of students and staff that must isolate if a case is confirmed.

Strength and Conditioning Workouts

  • Sessions for strength and conditioning may be conducted by school coaches for students in grades 7-12 from that coach’s attendance zone.
  • A strength and conditioning session shall be no more than two consecutive hours per day, Monday through Friday.
  • A student shall attend no more than one session per day.
  • Strength and conditioning sessions shall include only strength and conditioning instruction and exercises. No specific sports skills shall be taught and no specific sports equipment, such as balls, dummies, sleds, contact equipment, etc., shall be used.
  • Except for reasonable safety considerations, such as spotting, students and staff must maintain at least six feet of distance from all sides when not actively exercising. When actively exercising, students and coaches must maintain at least ten feet of distance from all sides when possible. Schools should consider requiring students who are not actively exercising, but are spotting, to wear cloth face masks.
  • Indoor workout activities can be conducted up to a maximum of 50% beginning June 22, 2020.
  • Schools should limit the total number of participants based on available space to allow for the appropriate distancing between students and staff.
  • Workout stations must be spaced to allow for at least ten feet of distance between them in all directions. Some exercises may require more than ten feet of distance.
  • Any equipment should be thoroughly disinfected before and after each use. If a student uses a piece of equipment, that equipment must be thoroughly disinfected before another student uses it. Schools should limit the use of equipment to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Sport Specific Instruction

  • Sessions for sport specific instruction may be conducted by school coaches for students in grades 7-12 from that coach’s attendance zone.
  • Sessions may be conducted in addition to the strength and conditioning session(s), and a student shall attend no more than 90 minutes per day of sport specific skill instruction with no more than 60 minutes per day in a given sport, Monday through Friday.
  • Sport specific skill sessions may include specific sports equipment, but contact equipment (restricted equipment) is not allowed. School shorts, shirts and shoes may be provided by the school (local school option) but may not be laundered on-site.
  • No competitive drills involving one or more students on offensive against one or more students on defensive may be conducted.
    • Examples (including but not limited to):
      • Basketball players may participate in drills, but cannot conduct drills / activities against a defender.
      • In football, offensive / defensive drills are allowed, but no 7 on 7, or offense vs defense drills are allowed, etc.

No More Fumbles

Play Football

nfl play football

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.