One more flicker of hope was seen earlier this week in the slow process of regaining normality for returning high school students involved in sports. The University Interscholastic League made a preliminary announcement about limited summer strength and conditioning programs.

But as of press time Friday, the UIL had not yet given specific guidelines for how that may play out.

On Tuesday, the UIL sent an email to public high school coaches across the state, stating that June 8 is the projected date for those activities to begin.

The UIL email states:

“UIL is aware of Governor Abbott’s announcement (Monday). We are currently, and have been, working with the appropriate state officials to allow schools to begin limited summer strength and conditioning on June 8, 2020. As soon as we have the details of that plan, we will release them to schools to allow time to plan and prepare for bringing students back to campus for these purposes. We hope to have those details released to you this week.”

Stephenville High School head football coach Sterling Doty said Thursday evening that he was expecting to see an update from the UIL either Friday morning (May 22) or, if not, by the afternoon.

“The UIL is going to have more specific details of what that looks like,” Doty said of the UIL unveiling its limited strength and conditioning plan. “Formally, I just let (the returning student-athletes) know the date, with no specifics.”

Doty said he has heard that, tentatively, the UIL was considering allowing workouts outside only, with no school weight room access at this point. But that won’t be known for sure until the UIL’s new statement is released.

Still, the limited news was good news for the student-athletes — and the coaches.

“We are very pleased with the June 8 date,” Doty said. “I believe that was probably the best-case scenario. That’s a good sign, with all the things opening up. We are extremely excited to get back with the kids. We really miss them, and they really miss being together as a family, and they are ready to get back on this 2020 journey.

Because of public health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the UIL shut down all high school sports in Texas after the completion of the Class 3A boys basketball state tournament semifinals on March 12.

The second phase of Gov. Abbott’s plan to reopen things in Texas was announced on Monday, opening up gyms and allowing for youth sports and summer camps by the end of May.

Doty noted that SHS Summer Fun football camp is tentatively scheduled to be held in the last week of May. A definitive date and more details will be announced later.

However, the annual Cody Davis Student of the Game summer camp in June has had to be canceled for 2020. Doty said that Davis, who now is a member of the New England Patriots, won’t be able to reschedule it later in the summer because he will be preparing for the 2020 NFL season.