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Dale Hansen Unplugged: Texas high school football has become a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation

"I just wish our school officials did their job as well as our kids do theirs."

DALLAS — There's been what I would like to think is nothing more than a little food fight in North Texas the last few days. But since it involves the Denton Ryan football team - one of the best teams in Texas - it's a little more like World War III.

It all started because Ryan had another outbreak of the virus. They had to shut the football team down for a couple of weeks. They're not the only team that has, but this is where our story takes an ugly turn.

The UIL - the state organization that is supposed to provide leadership and guidance to the public schools - didn't. They followed the lead of our federal government and decided to let the individual districts decide how to handle the problem, saying there is no one size fits all solution. I know, we've heard that before, which is why we're in the mess we are now.

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But once that district committee voted that Ryan would have to forfeit the two games - and there's no good explanation as to why they did - Ryan realized they could play this week against Denton High because the county public health department said they could.

They had done all they needed to do to protect everyone from the virus, the quarantine period would end Friday and they could play Saturday.

Denton County Public Health director Dr. Matt Richardson says there's no absolute guarantee that everyone is safe - that's why we're in a pandemic.

But a school official in Frisco says they all knew Ryan would play if they had to forfeit, and as disgusting as that thought is...who doesn't think it could be true?

This is the real tragedy: coaches and administrators have been cheating to win football games in Texas for as long as the game has been played, and no one seems to care until they get caught.

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Much like the district officials in Frisco who voted that games not played because of the virus would have to be forfeited.

Reporters started calling about that, and it's like a miracle...it just goes away. Now the district decides those games will simply be a no-contest, like they should have been all along.

If there was ever a year the kids should come first, the concern about someone gaming the system should be ignored, a state organization leading the way to make it as fair as they could, as best they could - this would be that year.

But we don't have those leaders anymore. We have too many people who care only about "me and my team," because as one Dallas school official says:

"We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't."

That's high school football in Texas now. We're incredibly proud of how good our high school teams are, and we should be.

I just wish our school officials did their job as well as our kids do theirs.