In 1909 the University of Texas Extension Bureau was established to serve the greater good of the diverse population of the state of Texas. The following year the Debating League of Texas High Schools, comprised of 28 member schools, was formed as a part of the Extension Bureau and held its first state meet May 5-6,1911. That same year an Interscholastic Athletic Association was founded and hosted the first University of Texas invitational track meet.
In 1913 these two organizations merged to form the University Interscholastic League with E.D. Shurter as the first director. Under his leadership equitable contest rules were established and competitions for girls were added to the program. By 1917, the UIL had become the largest interscholastic organization in the nation and the agency most responsible for drawing people of rural Texas into close association with the University of Texas.
In the decades to follow, numerous events in athletics, academics and music were added to the UIL program with procedures and rules formulated and adopted by the member schools the contests were intended to serve. In 1959, the UIL expanded its role by establishing the Texas Interscholastic League Foundation. Since its inception the TILF has awarded millions of dollars in collegiate scholarships to gifted UIL academic participants.
Throughout the League's proud history its programs have inspired, challenged and touched the lives of countless students in virtually every school and community in the state of Texas.