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Corpus Christi Caller-Times
University Interscholastic League Deputy Director Jamey Harrison has lived through and experienced the aftermath of a major hurricane.
Harrison was the superintendent at Bridge City when Hurricane Rita hit the Texas coast in 2005, and in the hours, days and weeks after Hurricane Harvey, Harrison knew what those towns, families and school administrators were going through.
Which is part of the reason Harrison and the UIL were committed to doing what they could to help the affected districts after Harvey.
Friday, the UIL created an exception for students displaced from the area where Harvey made landfall to enroll and attend another school district while still playing for their original school.
It was not a statewide exception, Harrison said.
The UIL on Tuesday responded to a request from area districts seeking a plan that would allow displaced kids to enroll in one school but still play for their home school while it was closed.
"We were willing to consider that for those schools," Harrison said on Tuesday.
"We talked about their needs and we were able to land on what truly is an exception that we've never offered before, enroll in a school and play back in their home school."
Harrison said he met with superintendents from Aransas County (Rockport-Fulton), Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Taft and Ingleside.
He later talked with other UIL officials and other area districts that were taking students to come up with the current exception.
Harrison said a student had to be enrolled and eligible to participate before the storm, and once the school reopens, they needed to go back.
The rule allows students to continue their education while also playing for their home school.
"It's good, kids need to be in school," said Ryan Knostman, Aransas Pass head football coach and athletic director. "They can get into that routine of going to school Monday through Friday and practicing after school. Until we get back up and running it's as close to normal as they can get."
The Panthers will open their season Friday against Taft at Ray Akins Wildcat Stadium in Portland as other squads affected by Harvey have started their seasons.
"They are able to get educational services from a place that has a means to do that and maintain their school identity and team identity to give their community something," Harrison said.
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