Well, it’s almost here. What, you may ask, is almost here’ Anybody who knows anything about the University Interscholastic League or anybody who keeps up with high school sports knows exactly what I’m talking about. This Friday, Feb. 1, is the Bi-Annual UIL Realignment Day. At 9 a.m. this Friday, all of us who coach football, golf, softball, one-act play, academics or debate will know our competition and travel expectations at the same time. It is amazing to me the secretiveness of the new alignments. This will be my 15th realignment in my career, and not one single time have I or anybody that I know correctly predicted the outcome. More secrets are leaked from the White House itself than from the UIL in realignment years. It really is quite fascinating how the realignment is actually done. Many people believe certain schools (Abilene Wylie and Highland Park) actually turn their numbers in and then the cutoff is set for Class AAA and AAAA, respectively, based on those numbers. Well, I’m here to tell you that is really not the case at all. The state has what is called a ‘snapshot’ date. Normally this is the last Monday in October or close to that date. On that date we are to count our enrollment and fax that number into the UIL office. The UIL then has certain guidelines in their “Constitution and Rules Book” concerning re-alignment. All schools are given a code number and beside this code number are the actual enrollments turned in for each school. They are arranged by highest enrollment to least. The UIL has no idea which schools they are dealing with. By rule, there has to be between 220 and 245 Class 5A schools. Those are done first. There also must be at least 200 schools in Class 2A and Class 4A. And from top to bottom in each classification, there should be approximately a 2.0 ratio. A minimum of four schools per district and a maximum of 10 are also in the rules. So there are the guidelines. From Nov. 1 through this week they have been looking at 1,300 enrollments and those short sets of rules to guide them. This Friday at 9 a.m. the fun begins. In the meantime I have already set a non-binding pre-district football schedule. Legally, we cannot sign a contract with schools until 30 days after the official re-alignment date. But my non-district schedule and scrimmages now includes Grape Creek, Wall, Bangs, Coleman, Ballinger, Comanche and possibly San Saba, Fredericksburg or Early. On Friday, I will be at the Regional Service Center in San Angelo. At exactly 9 a.m. (not 8:58 or 8:59) somebody will come out and open the box. Packets will be passed out, and we will all know at precisely the same time which schools we will be competing against for the next two years. As far as predictions go, I have no earthly idea. I do know if we get moved north and west, I will lose all five non-district games and both scrimmages and will be scrambling for games all day that day. If we stay south, our schedule will be fine. It is my understanding that Mason and Junction could possibly move down to Class A. Those two could be replaced by Harper and/or San Saba or Johnson City. The deal is’absolutely nobody knows what will happen at 9 a.m. this Friday. And if they say they know’well, they don’t. It really is an exciting time of year. I’ll visit with you in the next couple of weeks again and discuss what that day was like. Until then, see you at the game.