Water polo remains a significant priority for the UIL, though the body’s Legislative Council passed on adding the sport at its recent meetings in Austin. TISCA Water Polo Chairman Chris Cullen led the effort to advocate for the sport at the October 21 session and shared this update.
This past weekend Mac McDonald, Joe Linehan, and I attended the UIL Legislative Council Meetings in Austin. I stood up and spoke for TISCA Water Polo at the Sunday morning session requesting the UIL sanction water polo. At the bottom of this email are some of the broader talking points used this past weekend and in previous UIL Meetings. Unfortunately the results of the “add water polo survey” were not ideal. This was primarily due to the current “budget crunch” throughout the state’s education community (bad timing with the survey being sent in September). Due to this current financial climate, the UIL Legislative Council was not going to add any activities at this past weekend’s meeting let alone add any sports.
Water polo is still first in line regarding “being the next UIL sport added” (no other sport is remotely close to water polo). The UIL Staff strongly supported TISCA Water Polo within the committee meetings and continues to encourage water polo throughout this process. Additionally, we spoke to many of the Superintendents on the UIL Legislative Council this weekend and have received verbal support across the board. This is a long process which TISCA Water Polo has consistently worked for the past five years (Cheer took 7 years to be sanctioned, Wrestling took 10 years). TISCA Water Polo will continue to work with the UIL, grow the sport each year, and keep making inroads for UIL sanctioning. When the UIL and the Texas Superintendents are ready, TISCA Water Polo will be ready to move forward.
TISCA Water Polo – UIL Points of Emphasis
- TISCA Water Polo had 150+ teams playing water polo this past spring.
- TISCA Water Polo has secured an agreement from USA Water Polo (NGB for the sport) to grant the UIL $50,000 ($10,000 per year for five years) to help support the UIL State Water Polo Championship over the first five years of a sanctioned state championship event.
- Water Polo is Ready – Infrastructure in Place (use current swim team pools/facilitates)
- Coaches Organization, Local Coaching Committees, and Experience running events/championships
- UIL Eligibility – Been using UIL guidelines for 10+ years, Currently Self-Policed by coaches/schools
- Referee Organization – Already in place, lots of experience/structure
- Education Systems for Coaches & Referees (Online, In-Person Clinics, Mentor Coaches, etc.)
- Vendors in place, already supplying current program, discounts packages for new programs, possible “Official” equipment partners
- Top Reasons to Add Water Polo
- Low Cost to Implement and Maintain the Program
- Does Not Require Additional Facilities (Utilize Pools After Swim Season)
- Excellent Sport for Both Genders (Year-Round Aquatic Season)
- Proven NCAA Opportunities for Student-Athletes (Austin College)
Chris Cullen, TISCA Water Polo Chairman