La Feria News

UIL lifts Friday night live broadcast ban for 2020 HS football season

By MARK MOLINA
RSL

University Interscholastic League Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said the plan was to start the 2020 Texas High School football season not only on time, but with full stands despite the national pandemic.

While the goal will be to keep Friday night’s “sacred,” safety is the top priority, which is why the UIL has lifted its Friday night broadcast ban for the 2020 football season.

“‘The Friday Night Lights’ element still exists in Texas and we don’t believe COVID-19 is going to do away with that,” Breithaupt said during Wednesday morning’s legislative council meeting. “I do believe this is a time for us to stand down on our Friday night broadcast rule. Not permanently, just for a one-time venture. There will be many people who stay away (from games) because they are fearful, particularly our elderly and our senior citizens.

We want to give them an opportunity to see the game based on what the local district allows.”

The original rule in section 868 (c) of the UIL rulebook states that “UIL member schools shall not permit the live telecast of a regular-season football game on Friday night.”

Banning Friday night football live streams was to prevent fans and supporters from watching at home, and encouraged them to attend the games, thus protecting ticket revenues as well as funds raised through concessions from other school organizations.

Currently, Friday night games can be made available tape-delayed form one hour after the contest has completed.

Now, with the ban lifted, if there is an agreement between both competing schools, they may negotiate with a third-party (such as Rio Sports Live) to provide the streaming service or defer to student-led broadcast.

Breithaupt said the UIL would not be required to be involved in such negotiations, nor do they have a desire to be, but reiterated that this would be for one year and that they had no plans to extend it to football seasons in the future.

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