Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Changes don't mean loss of team rivalry
Inside the Texas University Interscholastic League "war room," cork boards align the wall with maps from across the state attached to them.
Schools on those maps are marked by pins, and rubber bands stretch from pin to pin, joining certain schools together to form a district.
This "pinning" method is one of two UIL used to finalize the 2014-16 reclassification and realignment for the state's roughly 1,400 public schools.
Those schools span Texas' 265,000 square miles. Picture this: one of the UIL schools, Anthony, is actually about the same distance to Los Angeles as it is to Houston, making the UIL's reclassification job a challenge, said Jamey Harrison, deputy director of the UIL.
The organization also uses a computer model to help with reclassification and realignment.
The final structure, released last week, married the two methods to form a singular, best "goodness factor," Harrison said.
The goodness factor takes into account the collective number of miles that all schools in a district must travel. UIL chooses the lowest goodness factor number to determine final district classifications.
Locally, we saw three of our largest schools split ways and join separate districts.
Two Victoria high schools, East and West, stayed together and will compete in the Class 5A District 30 with schools from the Corpus Christi area.
Calhoun High School, which was in the same district as East and West, leaves to join 5A-24 with schools from Richmond, Rosenberg and Angleton.
The decision to split these schools is unfortunate because they won't continue their sometimes heated but always fun district rivalry of the past four years.
Reclassification and realignment in Texas is a monster job. The final decisions won't make all happy.
Harrison acknowledged that.
"We have actually had less negative response than in recent years," he said. Most of the complaints, he said, have come from fans who don't have the same knowledge of the process that schools and the organization has.
"We have to make sure competitive equity still exists," he said.
One thing the change didn't account for is school rivalries, and that's according to the rules, Harrison said.
Schools can have heated rivalries in one sport but not others, and UIL covers just as many non-athletic activities as athletics, so rivalries are a complicated factor, he said.
We realize mostly that athletics, football specifically, can drive a lot of decisions in Texas. We acknowledge the UIL has a difficult task in realigning all of its schools, and it certainly seemed to do a fair job in this recent realignment.
We just hope that somehow, schools like Victoria East and Victoria West can figure ways to continue their rivalry with Calhoun.
Fans of the Titans, Warriors and Sandcrabs deserve at least that much.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.