SCHOOL FOOTBALL: It’s time to give the athletes a chance
The clock starts ticking today.
It’s snapshot day for all high schools in Texas when they hand over enrollment numbers to the University Interscholastic League to use in determining its realignment for the 2022-2024 seasons.
The final setup will be revealed in the first week of February, though many figured it out long before that.
Odessa High and Permian fans won’t have to worry about any changes, the only question being whether the Bronchos and Panthers will still face six District 2-6A opponents or five over the next two years.
The 2024-26 realignment, however, presents a different scenario overall.
It was then that Class 7A was able to become a reality for Texas high school athletics, barely 10 years after Class 6A was added to the mix.
If Odessa High and Permian are to remain competitive and fight for state titles in any sport, they have to stay below the 7A threshold, which will likely be between 3,000 and 3,200 students.
Right now, both are well above either number, with Odessa High with less than 100 students out of 4,000 and Permian above 3,700.
Midland Legacy, Midland High, and San Angelo Central also top 3,000, so you’ll have some familiar faces during the District Competition.
After that, straight into the Metroplex against Euless Trinity, Duncanville, Arlington Martin, South Grand Prairie, etc.
Other schools that would be above the threshold include Allen, all Plano schools, all Katy ISD schools, Galena Park North Shore, etc.
The calculation is simple, as is the solution.
To stay under the numbers, open two more high schools.
Or reopen Ector as a high school and build a high school and college.
Make sure the numbers are similar so they can face each other each year with playoff implications, as well as bragging rights within city limits.
Numbers that would also allow students to navigate the halls during the passing periods, to arrive on time to class, instead of looking like salmon swimming upstream every 50 minutes after the bell rings.
Although rivalries with Midland Legacy and Midland High would be relegated to out-of-district contests, there would be a lot of competition with schools in Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene and El Paso.
Teams that the Bronchos and Panthers are successful against every time they meet on the pitch, on the court or on the pitch.
That’s not to say Odessa High and Permian don’t have strong athletic programs filled with athletes working hard to be successful, with coaches helping them every step of the way.
Or that the Bronchos or the Panthers wouldn’t have success against the bigger schools.
It just wouldn’t be on a consistent basis.
There would be exceptions, such as the Permian boys’ basketball team’s recent run to the Region I tournament semifinals and the championship game before being knocked out, or the D softball team. ‘Odessa High reaching the state semifinals in 2008.
Since Midland Lee’s last championship in 2000, every Class 5A (now Class 6A) crown, with the exception of Abilene High’s Division II crown in 2009, has been won by schools in major metropolitan areas (Dallas -Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin) in the state.
It is time for that to change and that time is starting now.