UIL Eligibility Issued Before End of Marking Period


A student’s first report card also doubles as their first eligibility report. “After [Hurricane] Harvey, most every student is cramming more work and stress into completing four weeks of assignments in the space of two,” sophomore Joshua Swafford said. “Nobody deserves to be put through that, but the eligibility check at week six forced students with passions like band or football to double down and bring their grades up, which probably paved the way for a successful post-Harvey end of a marking period.”

Elena Mexicano, Staff Writer

This year, UIL eligibility reports were issued before the end of the nine-week grading period and instead at the six weeks mark, changing the way eligibility was determined. Usually, a student’s first eligibility report is also given as their first report card.

“The only time eligibility is determined at the six-weeks mark is only for the first nine-week period,” Smith said. “[For] every other nine-week grading period, [a student] loses eligibility at the report card and not [at] the progress report.”

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is a statewide organization that exists to provide athletic, academic and musical contests for students. Passing grades on UIL student eligibility reports determine whether or not a student may participate in these contests based on their academic grades.

“[UIL student eligibility reports] just tell any student who is involved in extracurricular activities, whether it’s band, dance or football, that they must have a 70 or above to participate in any competitive setting,” football and basketball coach Matthew Smith said. “They can and should attend practice, but they cannot participate in any competitive setting if they have a grade below 70 at the grade check.”

According to band member sophomore Joshua Swafford, remaining eligible for this report was both pressuring and stressful.

“I had a test in Pre-AP Algebra 2 that was filled in as a zero because I was absent the Friday before eligibility went out, and I had to ask my teacher to put in my grade as an incomplete just to make sure I didn’t lose eligibility,” Swafford says. “A last-second grade like that in the middle of a marking period could’ve been enough to make me lose eligibility for weeks; just because I was absent for one day. With the rehearsal schedule for band, usually one day isn’t enough time to get enough grade-based affairs in check. I had to cram a bell-to-bell test into a twenty minute time frame just so I could both be on-time for rehearsal and also not lose eligibility.”

According to band member junior Jeremy Wood, this marking period’s report may also have its benefits.

“I think [the eligibility report] was fine where it was,” Wood said. “Longer periods would cause an issue with students who fix their grades immediately, but if it was sooner, students would rush to fix their grades immediately and become desperate, digging themselves into a bigger hole [than the one] they were already in.”

According to Smith, even though this marking period had a portion taken away due to Hurricane Harvey, the show must go on.

Life sometimes throws you curveballs, and it’s your job as a person to adjust to the circumstances,” Smith said. “It’s unfortunate that we lost time in the classroom and [that] some students had to cram in extra work in a shorter period of time, but a little adversity will only make you a better student and person.”