Proposal calls for mercy rule in 11-man football

Aledo's Ryan Newsome (17) runs upfield for a second-half touchdown touchdown past Brenham's Courtland Sutton (14) during a UIL Class 4A Division II high school football championship game on Saturday Dec. 21, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Aledo won 38-10. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

AUSTIN (KXAS) — The University Interscholastic League will meet Tuesday in Austin to discuss a set of new proposals, including one that would introduce a mercy rule for 11-man football.

UIL, the governing body for high school sports in Texas, has a mercy rule for six-man football that ends a game when one team gets ahead by 45 points by halftime or later but does not have one for 11-man football. Coaches can agree to end a game early, UIL said.

Last season, the father of a Western Hills High School football player filed an official bullying complaint after Aledo High School defeated the Fort Worth school 91 to 0. The Aledo school district reviewed the complaint and determined bullying did not occur.

“The mercy rule, they are calling it the Aledo rule, because of the 91 to nothing game,” said Aledo coach Tim Buchanan.

NBC DFW contacted the UIL and they stated there are no specifics to how the rule would work in 11-man football. Buchanan does not think it should be enacted in the first place.

In last year’s game, they pulled their starters early. Buchanan said that he’s only seen a winning margin of 50 or more 10 times throughout his 31 years of coaching.

“The big reason I see is you are going to have a lot of football players who don’t get to play because of a mercy rule,” Buchanan said. “You stop a football game at halftime you will have a lot of players who don’t get to play.”

Many parents think you have to consider the physical aspect of the game.

“If you take some of these lesser teams and by the time you get to the fourth quarter, the kids are getting stomped,” said parent David Wade. “I mean to avoid injury, maybe if the coaches agree to that…I am not against that.”

“They need to know how to win, but they also need to know how to lose,” said parent Amy Brown. “And I think that takes away the real life aspects of playing the game.”

The UIL also plans to discuss the possibility of high school football instant replays, physicals for band students and allowing home school students to participate in UIL competitions among other topics of interest. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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