UIL rule changes: Technology will be allowed in Texas high school football in 2024

Texas high school football’s status quo is changing.

The UIL is implementing technology and horse-collar tackle rules that will be in effect for the 2024 season. The UIL uses NCAA rules with some exceptions and modifications.

Glen West, the Texas High School Coaches Association Assistant Executive Director, said exceptions are made when the UIL does not have the resources or capabilities to utilize certain NCAA rules.

Every year, a rules committee discusses how NCAA rules can be used in the UIL. The committee is composed of high school coaches, Texas High School Coaches Association Staff, Texas Association of Sports Officials members, UIL staff and an NCAA rules interpreter.

The committee considers what Texas high school football coaches want, and gathers coaches’ opinions.

On April 19, 2024, the NCAA approved new technology rules, which will be effective for the 2024 season.

In the NCAA, teams can have up to 18 tablets active on the sideline, in the coaching booth and in the locker room. West said all high school programs having the resources to utilize that many devices is “not realistic.”

“But we also believe that most coaches – if not all coaches – have iPhones or iPads and ways to be able to see video or use some technology,” West said.

The UIL is allowing technology, and there isn’t a set limitation on the amount of devices. Technology, however, will only be allowed within the coaches box and locker rooms.

“The technology to us – it’s more important where it’s used than how many are used,” West said. “If you want to use it in a coaches box, there’s not a need for 18 devices.”

The committee’s goal was to ensure the use of technology would be fair for all teams in Texas regardless of financial resources. Limiting technology use to locker rooms and coaches boxes ensures schools with more resources don’t have an unfair advantage by having more accessible technology.

“I just don’t see many schools getting a lot of tablets because there isn’t a need for it,” West said. “Maybe two have it in the press box. I don’t know if you need a lot more than that. I don’t think there is any great advantage over somebody else.”

West said some experienced coaches were against the new rules, given it goes against the status quo. Although the new rules create official changes, West said many coaches have already been using technology in coach boxes and locker rooms.

Locker rooms and coaches boxes are extremely hard to monitor for officials, and teams could be at a competitive disadvantage if opponents chose to use technology. This is one of the reasons the UIL will allow technology in these areas in 2024 while keeping it off the sideline.

The new additions will change the way coaches operate during games. The technology and data will inform coaches which coverages and offensive schemes are working and which ones are not.

This will make UIL football more advanced and more similar to the college or pro level. Coaches can utilize the technology to play the highest, most advanced football possible.

Another rule change coming is the addition of a horse-collar penalty within the tackle box. In years past, a horse-collar tackle within the box was not a foul.

In 2024, it will be a 15-yard penalty.