Sweetwater head football coach Shane Mobley knew big changes might be coming for his program starting with the 2014 season.
And Monday, the Univer-sity Interscholastic League made it official. Sweetwater — which dropped from Class 4A to 3A back in 2000 — will return to Class 4A for at least the next two years.
But this time, it’s because the UIL is renaming all of its classifications to include a Class 6A for the biggest schools. The Mustangs will be in Class 4A, Division II.
There will be more travel because only two schools in Sweetwater’s current district (4-3A) — Monahans and Greenwood — are also moving to 4A, Division II. Wylie and Big Spring will, in a rather surprising turn of events, be joined by Snyder in Class 4A, Division I beginning next year. Snyder, with a snapshot of 687 students, made the Division I cutoff by just two students and will be one of the smallest schools in the division, which has an upper limit of 1,059 students. Wylie had a snapshot of 1,003 and Big Spring had 943 (see figures below). So the three closest schools to Sweetwater — which turned in 535 students — in District 4-3A must be scheduled as pre-district foes. Greenwood and Lamesa, both a little over 100 miles away, are now the closest schools to Sweetwater in West Texas.
Other schools who might be in Sweetwater’s new district (465 to 685 students is the Division II cutoff) are current District 3-3A mem-bers Clint, Fort Stockton and Pecos — all of whom are at least a 200-mile trip — Dalhart and Perryton, both in District 1-3A and 300 miles away near the top of the Panhandle and the Texas-Oklahoma border — and Bushland, currently in 1-2A, Division I, which is moving up two classes the next alignment and is loca-ted about 250 miles away.
Others that might join Sweetwater in its new dis-trict if it goes northeast are Iowa Park and Vernon, who are near Wichita Falls and currently have membership in District 5-3A. The new UIL districts will be an-nounced Feb. 3. Vernon and Iowa Park are a three-hour drive for Sweetwater.