Speech & Debate
Contact Info

Speech & Debate Director:
Jana Riggins

Email:
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Department Phone:
512-471-5883

Department Fax:
512-232-1499

State Champions

Official Interpretation of the Sunday Competition Rule

State Executive Committee Sunday Rule Interpretation

According to the State Executive Commitee's official interpretation of Section 900 (b)(2), if a student competes in a speech tournament which is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the tournament counts as one of the two allowable Sunday competitions regardless of whether the student competes on Sunday.

State Executive Committee Interpretation of Sec. 900 (b)

The Sunday Participation Rule. August 2004

Facts

  1. The rule states "League schools shall not sponsor students in a League contest or a contest similar to one offered by the League on Sunday." The Sunday participation rule restricts school district personnel from accompanying students to Sunday competitions more than twice. Administrative approval must be granted for those two competitions, and the contest must be sponsored by a college or university.
  2. State law does not allow the UIL to prohibit students from participating in non-school-sponsored competitions and activities. Parents may take their children to meets provided that the school does not pay entry fees or other related expenses and the coaches do not attend the competition.
  3. The fact that a tournament entry contains information as to which high school a student attends or information about the high school itself (address, coach, telephone, FAX, etc.) does not in and of itself constitute a violation, although it may initiate an investigation into whether a violation occurred.

State Executive Committee Interpretation

  1. What constitutes "sponsorship?"
    1. The school pays entry fees for contestants or uses activity funds to pay for any or all of student expenses.
    2. Student uses school fundraiser dollars to pay for fees, transportation and/or housing expenses.
    3. Student is accompanied by school personnel.
    4. Student is accompanied, directed or transported by a person or persons on behalf of school personnel.
    5. Student wears or uses school equipment.
  2. What constitutes "school district personnel?"
      School district personnel includes any person hired or appointed by the school or its employees who is involved in preparing or assisting the contestant for a contest that is part of the UIL academic program.
  3. Which contests are involved?
    1. The Sunday Participation Rule applies only to contests which are part of the UIL Spring Meet Plan. It is not a violation of the Sunday Participation Rule for school district personnel to assist a student in preparation for or participation in a contest that is not part of the UIL Spring Meet Plan. For example, it is not a violation for a high school student to participate in four or more Sunday modern oratory duet acting competitions.
  4. Which contests are affected in the event of a rule violation?
    1. Students found to be in violation of the Sunday Participation Rule may be penalized for the current academic year in "germane" academic contests. For example, a student found in violation of the Sunday Participation Rule in Lincoln-Douglas would be penalized in debate (LD & CX) only, not in all speech events, nor in any other UIL academic events.
  5. What is the minimum penalty for violation?
    1. The Sunday Participation Rule is referred to either the District Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee, which may assess penalties as prescribed in the Constitution and Contest Rules, Sections 27, 29.

Sunday Rule Clarification

The Sunday Participation Rule states, "League schools shall not sponsor students in a League contest or a contest similar to one offered by the League on Sunday."

However, it provides an exception for academics and fine arts, allowing school district personnel to accompany students to two Sunday competitions. It requires that administrative approval be granted for those two competitions, which must be sponsored by a college or university.

At the same time, students may participate in non-school-sponsored competitions and activities. By state law, parents may take their children to Sunday meets or tournaments provided the school does not pay entry fees nor other related expenses, and the student isn't accompanied by someone acting on behalf of the school -- the coach, for example.

Sounds simple enough. It isn't.

If a student uses a school computer to enter a competition held on a Sunday, does that constitute school sponsorship? If the coach assists the student in entering a competition that's held on a Sunday, does that constitute school sponsorship? If the school's name, address or phone numbers are listed on the student's entry, does that constitute school sponsorship?

If the student is accompanied by a person who is not an employee of the school, not on the school payroll but who is paid by the coach out of his or her own pocket, does that constitute school sponsorship?

According to a State Executive Committee interpretation of the Sunday rule, a school is deemed to have sponsored a student if:

  • The school pays entry fees for contestants or uses activity funds to pay for any or all of student expenses for a competition held on a Sunday.
  • The student uses school fundraiser dollars to pay for fees, transportation and/or housing expenses to a competition held on a Sunday.
  • The student is accompanied by school personnel to a competition held on a Sunday.
  • The student is accompanied, directed or transported by a person or persons on behalf of school personnel to a competition held on a Sunday.
  • The student wears or uses school equipment to a competition held on a Sunday.

Next question: What constitutes "school district personnel?"

According to the SEC interpretation, "School district personnel includes any person hired or appointed by the school or its employees who is involved in preparing or assisting the contestant for a contest that is part of the UIL academic program."

Does the Sunday Participation Rule apply to non-UIL academic contests?

No. "The Sunday Participation Rule applies only to contests that are part of the UIL Spring Meet Plan. It is not a violation of the Sunday Participation Rule for school district personnel to assist a student in preparation for or participation in a contest that is not part of the UIL Spring Meet Plan. For example, it is not a violation for a high school student to participate in four or more Sunday oratory or duet acting competitions."

Which contests are affected in the event of a rule violation?

"Students found to be in violation of the Sunday Participation Rule may be penalized for the current academic year in "germane" academic contests. For example, a student found in violation of the Sunday Participation Rule in Lincoln-Douglas would be disqualified in debate (LD & CX) only, not in all speech events, nor in all UIL academic events. "

What is the minimum penalty for violation?

"The Sunday Participation Rule is referred to either the District Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee, which may assess penalties as prescribed in the Constitution and Contest Rules."

This interpretation replaces all past interpretations and will eliminate the "Gotcha" mentality that cheapens true competition. Violations of the Sunday participation rule are to be decided by the respective district executive committee or the State Executive Committee --contest managers should not be faced with new allegations being presented to them minutes before the beginning of the prelim rounds. Those accused will have a right to due process. Those who withhold evidence in an untimely manner may be sanctioned by the League for violating the Spring Meet Code.

The reason for the rule is it equalizes competition. It protects Sundays for traditional family activities. It protects teachers from working 24/7, 7 days a week, and from being out of their classroom excessively. Ultimately, it protects students, coaches and schools from abuse.

UNIVERSITY INTERSCHOLASTIC LEAGUE
1701 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722
Tel: (512) 471-5883 | Fax: (512) 471-5908