Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What did you expect?

High school swimmers, coaches, and fans are on the edges of their seats bleachers - waiting for the UIL's 2012-13 swimming alignments.

Many are genuinely shocked that this important information has been delayed.



Some of us aren't the least bit surprised by this latest issue.

You can bet, though, that your high school coaches' association leadership is all over it, right?

I'll have to tag this as "Ever So Slightly Humorous" now.

It's ventin' time:

Relay Take-Off Judging

Remember when Dan McAllen helped run the state swim meet?

Sure you do. Those were the "good old days" when automatic relay take-off judging equipment was used properly. We'd never even heard of Appendix B, right?

The UIL rules were quietly changed in 2009 - also known as 0001 A.D. (After Dan) - and problems resulted immediately.

Your Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (TISCA) leadership didn't take a stand until 2011 (0003 A.D.), when the heat was turned waaaaaaay up by swimmers, media, parents, and TISCA-member coaches.

Posting Call-Ups

This year TISCA leadership agreed to stop posting state meet call-ups on the TISCA site. When the official UIL lists were finally made public, there were several errors.

Our coaches, swimmers, and fans would be best served if we returned to the practice of posting an unofficial call-up list on the TISCA site.


This year all swim officials came under the UIL umbrella. For fifty bucks, volunteers can test and become UIL officials. TISCA no longer plays a roll in certifying officials.

As a result, we've seen a tremendous drop in the number of available high school officials - especially for diving competitions.

Push for Twenty-Four

We want twenty-four (24) qualifyers to the state meet, right? Shouldn't TISCA be presenting meet formats to the UIL so it can become a reality? Isn't it worth it to make an annual effort?

Instead of increased representation, could we be looking at a reduction in qualifiers? Don't be surprised if the UIL tries for a third swimming division (3A?). TISCA leadership has failed to throw cold water on that idea, so it may still be on the UIL's drawing board.


A region allowed a school to qualify a relay to state meet via the old "switcheroo". The UIL upheld this blatant violation of National Federation rules and allowed the relay to advance. I suppose we'll hear cries of "foul" from our TISCA leadership if it happens again next year, right?


Okay, this one really chaps me.

According to the TISCA By-Laws:

ARTICLE I (Meetings)

Section 2 (Board of Directors Meeting)

a) The Board of Directors shall meet prior to the Regular Meeting in the fall and shall meet again during the Spring Clinic. A quorum shall consist of those present and must include a majority of the Executive Board.

This year's spring clinic (Legends of Texas) was held up in Ft. Worth. Where did the TISCA board meeting take place? Do you really want to know? Want the truth?

How about in Austin!


I'd earlier posted that it was at UIL headquarters (it's been held there before). Sorry about the error.

Now do you see why a little delay in posting of alignments isn't all that shocking?

Still surprised your coaches' association has no comment?


Deer Slayer said...

Golly I hate it when you use facts to make your argument. Why would the TISCA Board chose not to follow THEIR BY-LAWS? We do seem to be falling behind into reactionary decision making. I recall when proactive action was the rule of the day. It was actually a coaches association. Vendors,(the clinic) and the uil were constantly challenged to do a best-case senerio situations. We didn't get everything, but we got a lot. We did lose bowie-gate, but not from lack of effort, the uil just didn't care.

Anonymous said...

The TISCA Board Meeting was actually at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin. It was not much of a meeting with no significant decisions or votes. The only actual vote was for Theron Pickle Coaches Award, but no decision was made on the 3A proposal or the 24 to State Proposal, or the 8 to Regional Proposal.

It was decided to "ask" T.N. what she thought had the best chance of moving forward with the UIL Executive Committee, and all she did was let everyone know how hard it was going to be to get ANYTHING changed so I guess NOTHING will be changed...I doubt anyone has the time or energy to compile all the data necessary to even get a sniff of consideration on any positive proposal to advance HS swimming & diving in the State of Texas.

It was brought up by T.N. that Swimming is already "over-represented" as compared to Track. 500 swim teams with 32 entries per event, vs 1400 Track Teams with 45 entries per event (possibly soon to be 54 per event) So. remember the warning about the UIL adding 3A and only allowing 8 entries per event from each of three Divisions.

Never mind that the average level of professional coaching in HS swimming is much higher than the average level of coaching in HS Track. Anyone that has ever observed a HS Track practice knows that from general observation. I am sure that there are some quality Track Programs, but for the most part, there is more standing around and limited training that takes place in Track than in Swimming.
Most Track Teams are weak in distance running and rely on raw talent, power and speed to carry the Team.

Also, of interest for everyone in 5A Swimming, if 3A were to be added as proposed, then 240x 4A and below Teams would get 24 entries and 240x 5A and up Teams would still only get 16 entries. The level of competition, and the quality of performers at the Texas State Meet would be diminished with the addition of a specific 3A Division.

I am not sure I would really care to go back to another Tisca Board Meeting or listen to T.N. tell TISCA that just about NOTHING was possible without an earthquake or and act of God! (I paraphrase)

We might as well all go back home, stick to our own Teams, and get ready for the 2012-2013 season, with no expectation of any advancement or
"intelligent" design taking place in the format or outline of UIL Texas HS Swimming & Diving.

Alas, mind our own business and don't make waves, because the UIL are busy people, taking care of their own business, and "service" to the Tisca Coaches is not very high on their priority list.

Not even King Salmon can jump Niagra Falls.

Anonymous said...

This is the best swimming blog ever

Button said...

'The TISCA Board Meeting was actually at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin'

i stand corrected. will edit asap!

Anonymous said...

What is the UIL's "own business"?

What can your readers do to help get more attention to these matters and ignite some energy for change?

Finally, are the UIL & TISCA in bed together?

Anonymous said...

There is a reason that the government doesn't usually allow monopolies - they are not good for competition. The UIL is a monopoly and it is not good for competition in Texas (pun intended). The UIL has a ton of power and NO checks and balances. TISCA used to be a counterweight and now it is just passively sitting by while the power hungry UIL leaders punish a sport they don't know much about (punishment may be intentional or unintentional). Until someone with guts and swimming intelligence leads TISCA then the entire community will continue to be punished. Also note - there is clearly someone on the board or near the board that feeds back all things said during the meeting to TN - I've been in meetings where she came in late and yet was aware of nearly every conversation (including who said what).

Button said...

'Also note - there is clearly someone on the board or near the board that feeds back all things said during the meeting to TN - I've been in meetings where she came in late and yet was aware of nearly every conversation (including who said what).'


this could get interesting...it's starting to make sense now...i have a person in mind that could be a big-time mole...

Anonymous said...

When the Tisca Meeting was at the UIL it seemed that the UIL Leadership had microphones in the room, they knew so much of the discussion before they even came in.

Button said...

it isn't paranoia if they really are out to get you, right?

Anonymous said...

It would sure be nice to set our schedules. Also is the State Meet going to be a week earlier this year? Have to assume Big 12's will be at UT.

Deer Slayer said...

I have seen 2/22,23 as the tenitive date for State and 2/8,9 for Regionals. That was on the tenitive UIL calendar on their web site.

Anonymous said...

According to the Tisca Meeting this past Friday and the UIL, State is Feb 22-23 , 2013

Anonymous said...

TN has admitted to knowing next to nothing about swimming and not really caring to find out. As far as swimming officials go, TISCA did nothing to train its officials either - $23 and an online test was never enough training to be able to do a good job. Since championship meets are generally USA observed in order to record the times into SWIMS, district and regional meets are usually officiated by people who remember that the reason we do this is to make it fair for the swimmers. In order to work the UIL meets, we must pass an additional test which is geared for football and doesn't even mention swimming....great training.

The bottom line is that swimming is just a notch in UIL's power belt and they don't give a rat's hiney about swimming. It's sad that the only way to make a positive change is to make waves in the media.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if TISCA was given official reason for a delay in releasing alignments

Anonymous said...

"swimming is just a notch in the UIL's power belt"
Unfortunately that is probably true.

Did anyone notice that all the swim officials had "official" UIL State Shirts? What did you think your $50 for UIL official's training was paying for?

Did anyone notice all the banners etc, promoting the UIL at the State Meet? They are also going to add some UIL signs to the sides of the starting blocks and "new" red-white-blue lane ropes!

Won't that make the State Meet "look good". Wonder who is paying for all that? Probably sponsors or your "official's fee".

The UIL is all about image over service. A true governmental agency...

Deer Slayer said...

One of the arguments to split swimming into 5A and 4A, was to look at the full stands and imagine it full twice a day for prelims and finals. It was not to have more qualifiers, it was finacial gain for them.

Anonymous said...

End of this week is what the UIL office is saying the new swimming alignments will be released when I called today.

Anonymous said...

"End of the week..."

Does that mean that TN was "mistaken" when she told the assemblerd Tisca Board, on Friday April 13th, that the UIL Swimming Alignment was already finished? She also said, "the UIL administration wants to put out the entire alignment list at the same time on Monday April 16th"
*Notice the quotation marks...although it is paraphrased.

Perhaps the web-site "guru" is out sick? Maybe the "dog ate the homework"?

Anonymous said...

Wrestling alignment has been quietly posted without mentioning the fact on their main page. That leaves three more sports; swimming, cross country and spring meet

Anonymous said...

It is doubtful that anyone in West Texas wants to see Southlake Carroll in their Region in Swimming, Diving or Cross Country...Maybe alignments in those sports had to be re-adjusted from the football/basketball alignments, after it was determioned that few, if any, West Texas athletes could advance to State UIL competition, by being matched up with Southlake Carroll.
Much of the "Regional" representation for West Texas would reside in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, if the alignments stay consistent with the 2012-2014 UIL football/basketball alignments.

Just a thought: Swimming & Diving and Cross Country are very predictable sports. If we can see the writing on the wall, so can those in West Texas...

I guess we will all know come Friday?

Lion King said...

Back before the 4A/5A split, UIL's PC -asked- TISCA leadership to divide up the swimming schools into -4- regions, because that was what WAS going to happen. We (Deer Slayer, LL, me, MS, BB, Dr. Steve, who else?) went to a Walgreens or somewhere, bought a TX roadmap, got some markers (probably crayons if I remember right), printed out the 8 then-current Region lists, and did a FAIR re-alignment into the 4 geographic regions used by, ahem, "land sports". (Don't get me started on the UIL retreating, re-trenching, or falling back on the swimming/track analogies, other than THEY DON'T WASH!) Not ONCE did the jealous head of the NIMBY or WIIFM snake rise. We did it WELL. Then PC or his higher ups just tossed it in the trash. We (sorry) have not had leadership in TISCA in a proactive or progressive sense since the 8 yrs of SM-MS-DA-PH. Again, apologies to friends, but everyone since has been a placeholder. NOTHING has happened. Except UIL taking stronger hold of the reins, and TISCA becoming more and more insignificant. I do not think UIL gives a "rat's hiney" about what TISCA wants (assuming it has even -pushed- for anything since 2004), and obviously cares NOTHING about the sport of swimming except what it gains in gate receipts and prestige. If you active UIL coaches and parents are not careful, GREAT swimming is going to start a move back to club, which at least provides a level playing (and qualifying) field for championship meets. Team aspect? Not so much, but you can't have everything, right? Wait. You COULD. But UIL power HAS to keep the upper hand to rule from Mt. Olympus, "can't let those know-nothing -coaches- get involved and think they can tell US what to do!!!"

Sorry to have to sugarcoat it, lol, but that's the way I feel.

Rant over. Keep posting.

Anonymous said...

The Tisca Meeting was, indeed, very sad, with nothing significant taking place. The focus of the group on the 3A proposal was disheatening. "Asking" TN, of the UIL, for her input was a little like "the gingerbread man asking the fox how far up on the fox's nose the gingerbread man should sit". I agree that TN and the UIL are all about image, and money, and swimming/diving is just a place for them to be seen and enjoy the limelight and financial gain, not a place for them to truly serve the best interests of the Texas HS swimming & diving community.

The prevailing message from TN as the UIL Rep for Swimming & Diving, is that change is so very hard to accomplish with the UIL. Anything Tisca wants comes with so many UIL "hoops" to jump through that we (Tisca) would need "full-time" statisicians just to supply the recommended data (by TN) for any consideration of change. Unfortunately, most of us have full-time jobs that severely limit our ability to accomplish all the "things" required by TN and the UIL to be given any "consideration" of potential change.

The likelihood of the 3A format taking place is low, and even if it does, it opens the door to a likely "loss" of swimming quality and a possible "loss" of swimming positions at the State Meet.

The most recent Tisca "Leadership" seems to be more concerned with being politically cooperative with the UIL, rather than proactively charging ahead with real objectives, that continue to improve and accelerate the sports of HS swimming & diving in Texas, for ALL of the parents and swimmers and divers and coaches.

Politics are distasteful and politics seems to be what is the prevailing methodology between the UIL Rep. and the Tisca Organization's Leadership.

It will take a very strong group of "visionary" Coaches, similar to
those mentioned in Lion King's posting, to see "real" advancement made in Texas HS Swimming & Diving.

However, due to the "absolute power" of the UIL and the lack of cooperation in their current Leadership and the possiblity of retaliation, I wonder who would be willing to risk themselves for the greater good of the HS Swimming & Diving Community?

Good question, huh?

Anonymous said...

It's called courage...

Anonymous said...

"Courage"? sign your name first...

Anonymous said...

It is probably not too difficult to figure out who the mole (or moles) might be...using that information might be the place to start when determining a strategy for change. The 'powers that be' are motivated by something other than promotion of the sport. Their weakness becomes your strength. Sometimes you have to just learn to play the game.

Kevin Murphy said...

Truth and Trust are rare in today's culture. Character should always be valued, even if some view it as "old-fashioned". Game playing is not a proper method used by those of true character. The promotion of the sport and the service to the kids is ALL that matters!
It is a shame that any type of "game-playing" seems to be necessary to promote the welfare of our sport and our Texas HS swimmers.

Kevin Murphy

Lion King said...

To 10:55AM Anonymous:

Spot-on. No leadership from Tisca, no concern from Uil. Headed for the dunny.