Following the Texas State 7on7 Association’s decision to cancel this summer’s tournament citing safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, another organization, Championship 7v7, founded in 2017, announced plans to step in and hold a tournament of its own, ‘The Battle For Texas State Championship’ June 30-July 3 at Veteran’s Athletic Complex in College Station.
Addressing confusion surrounding the event, Championship 7v7 Co-Founder and Managing Partner Johnathan Mumphrey stressed the organization, a subsidiary of national-brand parent company TruXposur, is in no way trying to uproot the Texas State 7on7 Association but rather provide a temporary alternative for athletes to compete during a year drastically altered by extraordinary circumstances.
“I want to be clear, we’re not in competition with the Texas State 7on7 Association,” Mumphrey said.
“We were asked by various Texas high school coaches that have allowed their kids to play on our national circuit, and they have seen how we run a very organized and professional event, so they asked us to step in the gap because the state tournament had been cancelled. And so we were honored to be asked and were just trying to provide opportunity for the athletes to come and compete.
“We thought it’d be a great opportunity for the kids to get back to some form of normalcy. As we stated, we were never trying to take away from what Texas State 7on7 Association has done all these years. We wholeheartedly support the Texas High School Coaches Association and their event, so when they decide to return, we’re back out.”
In response to safety concerns specifically, Mumphrey highlighted plans already in place approved by the University Interscholastic League to allow a return to strength and conditioning programs June 8, saying a return to normalcy is already in motion across the state, independent of Championship 7v7.
“Our whole vision is about the players, we always put the athletes first,” Mumphrey said.
“So if it’s not beneficial to the athletes, we will not do it. We just want them to know that we’re going to take every precaution that’s possible to keep the athletes and fans safe. We will continue to encourage social distancing at the event. But sooner or later these athletes will be going back to their schools June 8 in a controlled environment.
“We will follow all city, state and CDC guidelines, we’re still in talks with the facility about what all we agree on, how we will lay everything out, making sure we have sanitation stations and things like that for the athletes and parents.”
The announcement of the alternative tournament was met with mixed reactions from Parker County high school football coaches.
Weatherford Kangaroos Head Football Coach Billy Mathis gave a measured response, saying while he understands some athletes eagerly look forward to 7-on-7 competition each year and once again have an outlet to do that this summer, the lack of regulation which would otherwise be present during a UIL and THSCA-sanctioned event is concerning.
“I’d rather it not go on, but I can’t stop it,” Mathis said.
“I don’t think they’re bad people for doing it at all, they’re trying to make a living like everyone else. But us being under UIL rules, we can’t go out and regulate it. There’s no telling what’s going on. I know when it’s under the THSCA and UIL’s control, safety is No. 1.”
Springtown Porcupines Head Football Coach Brian Hulett said he stands by the Texas State 7on7 Association’s decision to not push forward with this summer’s tournament, citing the UIL and THSCA’s strong ties to high school football programs across the state and their long and proven track record of commitment to player safety.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” Hulett said.
“The UIL is comprised of former coaches. They work very closely with the THSCA which is all former head coaches in our state. The Texas 7on7 State Board is made up of all former or current head coaches in our state and they all work together. We’ve got the best governing body as far as the UIL, the best and strongest coaching association in the United States in THSCA. And they’re the ones working with every government organization in the state to know what’s best for our kids and we’re gonna go fully with what they say.
“Anything in Texas that isn’t associated with public schools, the UIL or THSCA we don’t want to associate with. I would assume they are trying to make money off of it.”
Aledo Bearcats Head Football Coach Tim Buchanan did not voice disapproval of Championship 7v7 stepping in as much as he dismissed 7-on-7 competition in general, saying he does not put stock in the activity’s benefits come the fall.
“To be honest, it’s been years since we played at the high school level in 7-on-7 tournaments,” Buchanan said.
“We do a league with a select group of schools that we have here locally, Aledo, Azle, Weatherford, a few schools around us. We help organize it. But it was probably, nearly over 10 years ago when we last played in state [7-on-7] tournaments at the high school level.
“I don’t think 7-on-7 tournaments were a good idea before the pandemic. I really don’t think it’s going to be now. Basically what I think is, it’s turned into guys trying to make money off of high school athletes and parents and it has no correlation to winning or losing football games. You see teams out there that win in 7-on-7 and go 0-10 during football season.”
Mumphrey responded to the above financial-related statements by saying that he respects the opinions of Texas high school football coaching staffs, while at the same time reiterating that Championship 7v7’s goals are to help promote high school athletes with colleges as well as give them an opportunity to compete in an event long loved in the state of Texas, not financial gain.
“I totally respect their opinions, and I think the parents and athletes have to choose, and I respect that,” Mumphrey said.
“But there’s a great contingency that is ready to get back to work and we just want to help facilitate that as much as possible in a safe environment.”
Wanting to give athletes an experience they are already familiar and comfortable with, Mumphrey said The Battle For Texas State Championship will feature pure high school teams, not select or all-star collections of individual athletes, while adding that the tournament will operate using traditional Texas State 7on7 Association rules, not those of Championship 7v7.
“We’ll put our rules on the back burner and will use the Texas rules that the athletes are used to,” Mumphrey said.
“Athletes will need a coach to register their team, and it has to be their pure high school team. If it’s Weatherford HS, they need to register as Weatherford HS. Individual athletes can not register for our event, they have to be part of their high school team.”
Mumphrey again reiterated that Championship 7v7’s entire vision is to help prepare athletes for the fall season as well as helping provide some sense of normalcy in a controlled and safe environment.
“ Kids are out trying to get prepared for the fall season, and 7v7 plays a great role for them to compete, so we just want to follow guidelines and take as many precautions as we can while getting the athletes back so they can be ready for the fall,” Mumphrey said.
For more information regarding registration (scheduled to open Monday) for The Battle For Texas State Championship, visit https://championship7v7.truxposur.com/.