PISD AD Poynor reacts to UIL announcement

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High school sports fans and coaches finally received a little bit of clarity earlier this week as UIL (University Interscholastic League) provided some guidance as to how fall sports will look come August.

For 1A to 4A sports, including Pampa, volleyball and football practices will start practice on Aug. 3. Football’s first game will be Aug. 27, volleyball’s Aug. 10 and tennis/cross-country can start on Aug. 17. The state championship for football is Dec. 16-19, volleyball Nov. 18-21, tennis Nov. 11-12 and cross-country Dec. 5.

Pampa did lose their scrimmage at Caprock and can’t be replaced. But they have their second scrimmage against Vernon at Harvester Stadium on Aug. 21.

For 5A-6A, Sept. 7 is the first day of practice for volleyball football and first day of matches/meets for tennis/cross-country.

The big question across all sports? Fan attendance.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Pampa Independent School District Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Greg Poynor said. “Right now they are saying 50 percent capacity. That could obviously change for the better during the season or it could change for the worse.”

Poynor added the District is still working out several kinks in regards to ticket sales for both football and volleyball. Mask requirements are also being discussed before the season starts, as well.

As far as football is concerned, the UIL announced over the summer they would allow Districts to broadcast their games, which Poynor said would be done on the internet.

Poynor said workouts and practices don’t appear to have any restrictions, allowing for teams to go full-speed ahead.

“We’re going to do our best in the locker rooms to prevent any kind of spread and work hard on cleaning,” Poynor said. “We will try to spread them out as far as we can in the locker room but once practices start, it’ll look similar.”

As far as roster sizes and online-only students being able to play, Poynor doesn’t expect there to be much of a drop-off from the regular roster size.

“I think there will be very little, but some chance of someone saying they don’t feel safe and they will stick to online-learning,” Poynor said. “At Pampa we will have online-learning with extra-curricular activities. I don’t think we will have a lot of that. But I do think we will have some.”

There will also still be sub-varsity and junior high sports, but the sports who traditionally play in tournaments will not be able to do so this season.

“Those teams are used to getting a lot of their games in tournaments,” Poynor said. “It’s going to cut a few games out but they’ll do a lot of Friday night/Saturday matches.”

The Harvesters will have two-a-days start on Aug. 3 with their scrimmage at home on Aug. 21 against Vernon. Tentatively, their first home game is Aug. 28 against Elk City.

All of this still remains very fluid, but Poynor is over-joyed that UIL is doing what they can to let kids play.

“I appreciate the UIL,” Poynor said. “Sports are important and are important to our kids. I’m just thankful they are letting us play and we are going to do everything we can to do it right so we can get through the season.”

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