The Fort Worth Star-Telegram caught up with UIL Director of Athletics Susan Elza at the boys basketball state tournament to talk about the potential of a shot clock in Texas hoops, rule changes and instant replay.
The shot clock has been a discussion point the last few basketball seasons. Is it any closer to being implemented by the UIL?
It’s a topic, but not one on the forefront. There are coaches that are interested in it, but there’s an equal amount of coaches that aren’t. We rely heavily on the coaches organizations to give us feedback on it, like the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, the Texas Girls Coaches Association and the Texas High School Coaches Association. I think coaches are interested, but there are some, whether it’s their team or the game itself, they don’t think it’s quite ready for it. I don’t think the topic is going away, I just don’t see us making any abrupt movement toward changing it. Of course, it’s not within rule of the national federation, that’s the rule we follow, and they’ve allowed us to conduct experiments through tournaments. We’ve done three this year.
Is the basketball tournament returning to San Antonio next year?
It’s looking like it’ll return here for the next two years. The contract hasn’t been signed or delivered, but I think that’s the intent.
What is the criteria when choosing a venue for the basketball state tournament? Will it ever come to Dallas-Fort Worth?
It’s the same as any sport. There needs to be seating accommodations, locker rooms, needs to be convenient to get in and out along with ample parking. There are a ton of options that will fit the criteria. It costs to play at venues like this, is there availability, there are so many to run through. Dickey’s Arena is certainly nice and we’ve toured it. I can’t give you an answer at this point, it’s all about reviewing and understanding right now. We will keep our eyes open.
What is the next step for football?
We have a cooperative relationship with the THSCA. We added the new tackling certification and all those preseason spring training limitations. No matter who you talk to in the UIL or THSCA, they’ll say the game is safer than it has ever been. Our eyes are open, the medical advisory’s eyes are open to anything that can make the kids even more safe. With football, we took a lot of steps forward last season. I can’t look into a crystal ball and tell you what’s the next thing, but if it’s going to put our kids in a position to be safe when they’re participating then we’ll be proactive toward it.
It was the first year for instant replay in the state championships, was it a success?
We will use it again this year. We have a football committee that makes recommendations. We visited every coach at state and they were all overwhelmingly in favor of it. Although it delayed a couple of games with so many reviews, you’d rather see them get it right. There were 28 replays, 18 reversed, 5 confirmed and 5 stood. It was a success. Coaching challenges have been questioned, whether or not we should bring that back. Some coaches said it’s a strategy they don’t have to worry about, some would like that option. We will continue to look at it.
What is the next big thing being discussed in any sport. Does anything stand out?
I’m on the volleyball committee for the national federation, which we have a cooperative relationship with and it doesn’t matter what sport, baseball, softball, soccer, instant replay is being talked about and how it could fit into high school games when schools may not have all the camera angles. It’s something down the road, I can’t tell you how many years down the road, but every state that plays interscholastic sports has been keeping an eye on it. You don’t want your sports to get behind on it, but you also don’t want to jump forward without getting it right.