The University Interscholastic League (UIL) released official enrollment numbers for all 1,601 schools competing in athletics and academics for the 2024-2026 biennium on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
The sport where the biggest impact will likely be felt is varsity football; however, there could be some changes impacting other sports like volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball and track.
While all of the schools in Gonzales’ current District 12-4A-2 football district in Region 3 appear likely to remain in Class 4A Division 2, it is possible that the UIL could shake up this otherwise stable alignment due to big changes in far South Texas, where all but one school in District 16-4A-2 appear poised to move either up or down in classification.
Of course, everything is dependent upon what cutoffs are announced for each classification by UIL, which could make that announcement as soon as Friday, Dec. 8, according to various media outlets which closely follow the realignment process.
As reported previously by the Inquirer, Gonzales reported an enrollment of 760 students, a decrease of 72 students from the 832 that were reported in October 2021. It is the largest school in terms of enrollment in District 12-4A-2, followed by Cuero (639), Giddings (623), La Grange (612), Caldwell (590) and Smithville (555).
During the recent biennium, Class 4A was comprised of schools with an enrollment of at least 545 students and no more than 1,299 students, with Division 2 comprised of schools with enrollment from 545-879 — a total of 93 schools.
Should the cutoff numbers remain similar to their current level, there would be four schools in Region 3, Division 2 that would move up to Division 1 — Bridge City in District 9 and Royal, Sealy and Sweeny in District 10. In Region 4, two schools would move up to Division 1 — Jarrell in District 13 and Rio Grande City Grulla in District 16.
However, there are four teams in Region 4 that appear slated to drop — Corpus Christi West Oso and Orange Grove in District 15 and Bishop and Raymondville in District 16.
If this is the case, that would leave District 15-4-2 with just three teams — Ingleside, Robstown and Sinton — and leave just Port Isabel, near the Texas-Mexico border, in District 16.
UIL rules state there must be a total of 16 districts each for Division 1 and Division 2 in Conferences A-5A in football. Because there are four playoff spots awarded to each district, each district must be comprised of at least four schools but no more than 10 schools, unless approved by the District Assignment Appeals Committee.
There shall be no attempt to perpetuate or avoid “old rivalries.” Socioeconomic factors are not considered and a school may be placed in different districts for different activities to alleviate travel burdens.
In looking at Conference 4A-Division 1, there are no schools in Region 4 currently expected to drop below the current cutoff limits, though three schools (Boerne and Somerset in District 14 and Alice in District 16) likely will move to 5A Division 2 based on reported enrollments.
Most likely, Jarrell will move into District 13-4A-1 along with Burnet, Lampasas, Marble Falls and Taylor, while Comal Canyon Lake and Comal Davenport would move to District 14 to replace Boerne and Somerset. Rio Grande City Grulla would move up to District 16 to take Alice’s place.
There is only one Conference 3A-Division 1 team likely to move up in classification in Region 4 — Corpus Christi London, which would be a good fit for the district with Ingleside, Robstown and Sinton and would leave at least four schools to compete against each other.
However, there are no easy fixes identifiable for what to do about District 16-4A-2. Even if Port Isabel decided to play up against teams in District 15-4A-1 or District 16-4A-1, the UIL would still have to create another district to replace District 16-4A-2, which can only be accomplished by two ways — shifting schools from Region 3 into Region 4 or by lowering the bottom or raising the top cutoff for Conference 4A-2.
The former could mean the two schools to the furtherest south in Region 3 — Cuero and Gonzales — could be forced into a district with schools like Wharton and Sweeny or with schools like Robstown, Sinton and Ingleside in order to have enough schools in Region 4.
Reported enrollments when compared to cutoffs from the current biennium leaves Region 4 in 4A-2 with just 14 total teams and Region 3 in 4A-2 with 21 teams — an obvious imbalance for the UIL, which seeks to keep regions roughly the same size when possible.
Nixon-Smiley High School reported an enrollment of 287 students, an increase of three above the 284 reported in 2021. That should keep Nixon-Smiley in District 15-3A-2 for football along with some of its district mates, including Poth (287), Dilley (267), Karnes City (315) and Natalia (345) as the Conference 3A-2 cutoff was from 250-359 students.
However, Comfort reported 364 students, while South San Antonio West reported 520 students, so if the cutoff remains near what it currently is, both schools will move up to 3A-1, which had 360-544 in the current biennium.
Other schools in Region 4 that are showing possible movement include Florence in District 13, which should move up to 3A-1, and Danbury in District 14, which would drop to Conference 2A-1. In Region 3, Hemphill would also drop to Conference 2A-1, while Trinity would move up to 3A-1.
In Conference 3A-1, there are three teams that could likely drop down to 3A-2. They include Blanco and Cotulla, which would move into the spots in District 15 being vacated by Comfort and West. The third is Vanderbilt Industrial, which could move into District 14 to replace Danbury.
There are four teams in 2A-1, however, which are above the current cutoff and their placement could depend on what UIL does with the cutoff numbers. Schulenburg (250.5), Johnson City (250), Stockdale (274) and Thrall (274) could move up to 3A-2, which means it might be easier to break up District 15-3A-2 into two districts, with Natalia and Dilley joining Blanco and Cotulla and Johnson City in one district, while Schulenburg and Stockdale join Karnes City, Nixon-Smiley and Poth in another district.
Thrall would be a good fit for the Buffalo, Lexington, Clifton, Elkhart, Rogers grouping in District 13-3A-2.