By Kate Y. Hector, UIL
The University Interscholastic League is committed to providing educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests to students across Texas. Occasionally, students have unique circumstances that may cause them to be ineligible to participate in UIL athletics, for these extenuating circumstances the UIL has a waiver process.
The waiver process is designed to give an opportunity to students who encounter hardships due to life-changing circumstances. With this process in place, students that would be ineligible to participate in varsity contests, due to these involuntary or unavoidable circumstances, are able to seek eligibility through one of the various waivers. The waivers that are available are: Four-Year, Parent Residence, Foreign Exchange, Retroactive, Middle School Over-Age, and High School Over-Age.
During the 2012-2013 school year 62 percent of all UIL waiver applications were granted. The waiver process allowed more than 650 students the opportunity to participate in UIL athletics. Often, students seeking waivers are faced with very difficult circumstances that affect lower socio-economic populations of Texas. Parent residency waivers are often required if a student’s parents live separately, and foreign exchange waivers allow students from outside the U.S. to fully experience Texas high school during their stay in America.
If a student is seeking eligibility through the waiver process, he must first complete the appropriate waiver application, then the waiver officer makes a determination based on the application and materials submitted. During the 2012-2013 school year, more than half of the 1,089 waivers submitted were approved. A waiver review board meets each month to review appeals of the waiver officer’s decision. This board provides a second chance for a student’s waiver to be considered by a panel of current and former school administrators.
This equitable and comprehensive review process ensures students are granted the privilege to participate in UIL activities in appropriate situations.
“The waiver process is one of the great ways the League ensures students get a fair chance at varsity eligibility,” said Dr. Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director. “We want to make sure all students have an opportunity to participate within the rules.”