The University Interscholastic League (UIL) unveiled its realignment for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years on Thursday, and while there weren’t many surprises for Frisco ISD schools, there will be some significant changes.
FISD will have 10 high schools when Memorial opens in the fall, and all will play varsity sports during the 2018-19 school year. For all sports except football, they will play in the same district, the new 9-5A.
The big change comes in football because, for the first time, the UIL is splitting Class 5A into two divisions before the start of the season. The split is based on a school's current enrollment, with schools of an enrollment of more than 1,840 going into Division I and schools under that cutoff going to Division II.
The result is that, for the next two football seasons, six FISD high schools will have football teams in Division I and four will have teams in Division II.
Centennial, Heritage, Independence, Liberty, Lone Star and Wakeland will be part of District 5-5A Division I in football. They will be joined by Little Elm High School and The Colony High School.
Frisco, Lebanon Trail, Memorial and Reedy will be in District 7-5A Division II for football. They’ll be joined by five other high schools: Denison, Denton Braswell, Lake Dallas, Lovejoy and Princeton.
“Realignment always brings some changes for athletic programs, and it’s especially true this year with the split into two districts for football,” FISD Athletic Director David Kuykendall said. “But we’re aligned with some quality schools and we look forward to the new opportunities for competition.”
FISD’s District 9-5A, for sports other than football, is one of two 10-team districts in 5A. The other is 2-5A, which is made up of schools from El Paso. FISD expected to have all its schools in one 10-team district for sports other than football, so the only real mystery before Thursday was how the football teams would be aligned.
“It’s about what we expected,” Lone Star football coach Jeff Rayburn said of 5-5A Division I. “For travel, it makes sense.”
Little Elm and The Colony will be short trips for the six FISD football teams who will be in the same district. The trips will be a little farther for the four FISD teams in 7-5A Division II, which includes Denison and Denton Braswell.
But the coaches like the makeup of the teams.
“It’s going to be really competitive,” Reedy football coach Chad Cole said.
For FISD's football teams, the advantage of playing in two districts is that they will compete for eight playoff spots instead of four. Each UIL district will have four playoff qualifiers, regardless of the number of teams in the district.
In previous realignments, the UIL split each class in 1A through 4A into two football divisions before the season. But for 5A and 6A, it didn’t place teams in Division I and Division II football brackets until after the four playoff qualifiers were determined. Now 5A has been added to the classes that are divided before the season for football, and 6A might do the same in the future.
UIL enrollment numbers for FISD schools for 2018-2020 alignment:
Lone Star 2,020
Lebanon Trail 1,757