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ET Football: Live opening-night broadcast to include Gilmer, more UIL news

By BY MIKE FORMAN
July 24, 2017 at 11:06 p.m.

Gilmer's Aaron "Poppy" Brown looks for a receiver during Thursday's August 25, 2016 game against Liberty Eylau in Tyler. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

HOUSTON – Gilmer will be a part of Texas Football Days to kick off the upcoming season.

Fox Sports Southwest will broadcast the Sept. 1 Shallowater at Idalou and Lake Travis at Converse Judson games live.

The Buckeyes' game at Texarkana Liberty-Eylau will be among 10 other games that will receive live look-ins.

The announcement was made during the UIL's annual press conference as part of the Texas High School Coaches Association's coaching school.

Fox Sports Southwest will feature past high school football games throughout the opening week of the season culminating with 11-hours of high school football programming Sept. 1, including the two live broadcasts.

UIL rules forbid live broadcasts of Friday night games, and with the exception of the opening week, Jamey Harrison, the UIL's deputy director, doesn't expect the rule to change in the near future.

"I can envision it growing to other first Fridays in the future," he said. "I don't think we're really getting to the point of opening up every Friday night just yet. So far, our constituency is opposed to that. They really want to protect that Friday night experience is a long-standing rule. I think that will happen at some point. I just don't think we're there yet."

The UIL will begin enforcing its jersey rule this season, according to Susan Elza, the UIL's athletic director. Teams are required to wear numbers which contrast with the color of their jerseys.

Enforcement will be left to the officiating crews working the games.

Elza also said with one Class 2A state championship game now scheduled for Wednesday night, the UIL is looking into the possibility of allowing those teams to practice on Sunday.

Elza said the UIL Legislative Council will look into the matter in October but she was unsure if it would be adopted for this season.

The UIL will also consider whether to allow football coaches to coach their school's 7-on-7 teams in the summer. It will also consider whether basketball and baseball coaches should be able to coach their athletes outside of school.

Charles Breithaupt, the executive director of the UIL, also made a point to speak about the problems of attracting new officials and specifically basketball officials.

Breithaupt said there were over 1,000 incidents or reports last season of a coach, player or fan acting inappropriately toward an official.

"We had 17 bench-clearing brawls (15 on the high school level) basketball," Breithaupt said. "That's unacceptable. We're going address that. We pay our officials good sums to officiate. It's very lucrative for a student. But who wants to stand out there and have somebody yell at you all night."

NOTE: The Oct. 27 Tyler Lee at Rockwall game will be the DQ Big Game of the Week.

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