School administrators, coaches optimistic in UIL’s decision to allow Friday broadcasts

School administrators, coaches optimistic in UIL’s decision to allow Friday broadcasts
The coin flip from Lufkin vs Longview in 2019 (Source: sports)

AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV/KTRE) - The University Interscholastic League’s executive director has announced high school football games can be streamed for the 2020 regular season only.

“The Friday night lights element still thrives in Texas,” Breithaupt said. “We do not believe that COVID-19 is going to do away with that but I do believe this is a time for us to stand down on our Friday night broadcast rule.”

Breithaupt was able to make the decision after the committee gave him authorization in May. Breithaupt said he wanted to be sure elderly and other high-risk football fans would have an opportunity to watch Friday night football.

Current UIL policy allows for Friday night contests to be tape delayed and not available until one hour after the completion of the contest. The main concern for doing this would be to help fans if there is a limitation on how many fans can go to the games in the fall.

“This has been a crazy year,” Huntington ISD superintendent David Flowers said. “Since March it has been a new way for a new day. Here we are talking about streaming football. It is just an option for fans to see their teams play.”

Breithaupt said it is his hope that they would have full attendance in the fall at games but that the decision ultimately is in the hands of state leaders and health officials.

“It is not just about a football game,” Breithaupt said. “It is not just about marching at halftime. it is the drill teams and the pom groups and the cheerleaders and the auxiliary groups that are selling things and working together to celebrate their school.”

The UIL is not planning on getting involved in how districts do the streaming or broadcasting of games. Breithaupt said they could assist if there is any questions. Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said participating school districts in each contest would have to come to agreements before games on streaming.

“If you do it for free it is taking money away from our kids,” Alto head football coach Ricky Meeks said. “You still want to make sure fans enjoy the experience if they are not in attendance. Things still need to be worked out. Now that we know we can do it we will go down that road. "

The stream could add a new exciting element for districts by allowing their campus video organizations to get involved.

“When we updated all the cameras and the video board here a few years ago we did so with the idea of one day possibly streaming,” Lufkin Mike Mchaney Director of Audio and Video program at Lufkin High School said. “Bigger schools have been campaigning for this for some time so it has been something we were watching. It is a great opportunity for students being behind the camera, having their work being shown.”

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