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UIL ruling

Coaches, AD react to expanded playoffs


Football has enjoyed two state championships in each classification for a long time. Now, more teams will get to share that experience following last week’s ruling by the University Interscholastic League.

Volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball and baseball playoffs will now be split into two state championship brackets. They will use a system that is still used in Class 6A football, with the top four teams from each district advancing to the playoffs. The two postseason schools with the largest enrollment will be placed in Division I and the two with the smaller enrollment will be in Division II, with each division crowning a state champion.

Under this format, Duncanville and DeSoto, both from District 11-6A, won state championships in Division I and Division II football each of the past two seasons.

Lower classifications also used this format for football for years before they were divided into Division I and Division II throughout the regular season several years ago.

The change will also mean one less game in the postseason for each of those sports. Now, teams that reach a state final will be playing in six games instead of seven. 

Also, the UIL announced that for the coming school year, the state tournaments in the adjusted sports will consist only of championship finals. The pre-determined dates and sites for the state championships will remain unchanged. 

Regional tournaments could also be a thing of the past. However, there will be flexibility on the regional semifinal certification dates, allowing the four teams involved the option to organize their own regional tournament.

Class 1A volleyball, softball and baseball are not included in the format change and will continue to crown one champion.

The new format goes into effect for the 2024-25 seasons. State tournament details in each sport had not been announced at press time.

Aledo AD’s response

“I like the change made by the UIL to expand playoffs in volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball. This will put these sports in alignment with football and create more evenly-competitive playoff brackets since there is such a large gap between the smallest and largest schools in each classification,” Aledo Athletic Director Brandy Belk said.

“In Aledo - as we prepare to likely move to 6A in a couple of years - this will mean that our teams compete against the biggest 5A schools in the state. We want to compete against the biggest and the best, so I know our coaches will welcome this challenge.”

Weatherford athletics response

Weatherford School District Athletic Director Joe Kostiha said the change could be a positive for his school’s programs.

“The same amount of teams will get in the playoffs so it won’t have an impact there. However, once we get in the playoffs it could have a large impact on the teams we are playing,” he said. “With Weatherford we are usually one of the smaller schools in 6A, so it should help us out with some of the opponents once we are in the playoffs.”



Aledo baseball coach Chad Barry said the ruling definitely has the potential to help his team. However, he added it could make for a tougher draw in the opening round of the postseason.

“I think it is interesting. I’m just trying to figure out what the state tournament format will look like,” he said. “If you add twice as many teams to the state tournament, will they split locations? If so, where, other things like that.” 

Aledo Ladycats softball coach Heather Myers said she doesn’t really have an opinion one way or the other. The Ladycats, who recently competed in their third state tournament in four seasons, are known for always playing one of the toughest schedules in the state.

“As far as Aledo softball is concerned, we will continue to play our game and keep our nose to the grind,” Myers said. “Focusing on what we can control and working hard through every circumstance is how we get better. Agreeing or disagreeing won’t change the situation.”

Meanwhile, Aledo Bearcats soccer coach Derek Vierling is ecstatic about the news, particularly about the shorter postseason.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “There will be one less playoff game, six rounds instead of seven rounds, so it’s a quicker trip to state.

I haven’t looked at all the enrollment numbers yet, but being the fifth largest 5A in the state I’m assuming we will be ‘big school’ Division I, which might mean powerhouse schools like Frisco Wakeland could be ‘small school.’

“A shorter route in the playoffs with less schools will just be a better overall situation for the Aledo Bearcats and Ladycats.”


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