The UIL Appeals Committee on Tuesday denied Navarro and Wimberley’s joint appeal to restructure the districts surrounding the area, which locked the Gonzales Apaches into District 13-4AD2 with Cuero, Giddings, La Grange, Navasota and Smithville.
The plan that Navarro and Wimberley presented to the UIL involved moving Gonzales and Bandera into 14-4AD2, then moving San Antonio Young Men’s Leadership Academy into 15-4AD2 in Bandera’s place and Manor New Tech into 13-4AD2 in Gonzales’ place.
Gonzales athletic director Mike Waldie attended the meeting to speak in favor of the move.
“We thought it made sense from a competitive equity standpoint and for our selfish reasons, Gonzales ISD wise, four of our five opponents are in Region III for every other sport,” Waldie told the Inquirer. “This appeal would have put us back into a district full of Region IV teams, so when it comes to playing them in basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, the other sports, it would have been much more realistic.”
According to Kevin Duke of the Seguin Gazette, Navarro cited concerns over a lack of teams at sub-varsity levels for the other four schools in 14-4AD2.
Waldie agreed with those concerns.
“It’s not about wins and losses, it’s about developing programs and their concern was how that was going to set their programs back,” Waldie explained. “And as a good neighbor, I would hope they would do the same for us and that’s what we were there for, to support Wimberley and Navarro’s concerns of how four weeks with possibly no freshmen game, looking for junior high games, maybe another JV game, how far that can set back...that’s 40% of your 10-game season. We couldn’t even find a Week 6 when I got here, for the entire state, so we had to play a nine-game schedule. Can you imagine having to possibly do that for four of your 10 weeks? That was what was at debate [Tuesday].”
Despite acknowledging those concerns, the committee voted 7-0 to deny the appeal, according to the Seguin Gazette.
Now, the Apaches find themselves in Region III for football with possible travel issues for parents of multi-sport athletes.
“For example, if you’re at La Vernia and we’re playing Bandera, that could be the farthest game.” Waldie said. “Well that’s 81 miles. And that was a jaunt, but it’s not 211 miles to Navasota, and that’s the possibility right now, our volleyball could be a Pleasanton or La Vernia or Navarro and we could be playing La Grange, Giddings, Navasota the other direction.”
Waldie noted that student athletes who cheered and played volleyball are now stuck between deciding whether to cheer or play volleyball. His solution?
“If I was the new commissioner of UIL, the things for me that I think need to truly be considered are, if you’re going to split it, you need to split everything,” he said. “It shouldn’t just be football.”
As an alternative, Waldie added that another solution would be to align volleyball with football.
The Apaches tentative schedule released earlier this month now looks to almost be finalized.