For Immediate Release (11/14/2019)
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) of Texas and Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) are set to pilot new regulations that will allow Unified programming (that which includes students with and without intellectual disabilities participating together in activities and life) to be UIL sanctioned across the state of Texas. The UIL is the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world, existing to provide equitable competition on a statewide-level based on schools competing with other schools of comparable size. The UIL sanctions competition and contests in academics, athletics, and music.
“The UIL is excited to partner with Special Olympics Texas on this very important pilot program,” said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt. “While the League continues to grow and evolve, its mission has always been to offer fair and equitable activities for young people to experience teamwork, establish lifelong bonds and sense of community, as well as pride in representing one’s school. We look forward to extending these opportunities to students of all abilities and backgrounds.”
In comparison, Special Olympics Texas provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for more than 55,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the state of Texas. Together, this partnership will be able to marry two organizations that are working towards healthy, inclusive environments and competitions.
“Special Olympics Texas and the UIL partnering on Unified Sports will have an amazing impact on so many lives, not only opening opportunities for so many individuals with and without disabilities to experience the wonderful lessons and relationships gained through sport. Unified Champion Schools® does more than just sports, and it truly reveals the greatness in us all. This partnership will positively impact the lives of so many that up until now have lived in the shadows. We are so thankful for this partnership, and the UIL’s support”, says Tim Martin, CEO of Special Olympics Texas.
Programming will roll out over the next year to ensure the partnership benefits as many students as possible. Special Olympics Texas will be the 33rd in the United States to gain interscholastic sanction for Unified programming.