The University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced it would allow live telecasts of high school football games on Friday night during the 2020 regular season, with the exception of linear telecasts on Sept. 25.

In a news release announced on Thursday, Aug. 13, the UIL said it is doing this to “increase accessibility of high school football games and encourage social distancing across Texas.”

The UIL said a telecast is defined as any live or tape-delayed video footage of a contest in its entirety that can be transmitted through television, internet web stream, webcast, video podcast, smart phone apps, tablet computer apps, closed-circuit channels, weather cameras or any other medium.

By doing this, the UIL suspended one of its constitution and contest rules, which prohibits live telecasts. This new rule will apply for only the 2020-21 school year.

There are still guidelines that all school districts must adhere to.

“With prior approval by their school administration, the home team may have one digital webcast transmitted on the internet and one linear telecast on television per game, provided that there is adequate space for the visiting team webcast production,” the UIL said. “With prior approval by their school administration, the visiting team may have one digital webcast transmitted on the internet per game.”

The UIL said webcasts may be on any media platform approved by the school.

There are restrictions

If providing announcers as part of the telecast, announcers should follow the following announcer guidelines:

• The telecast should provide announcers who are competent and exhibit professionalism;

• No dramatization shall be made of any unsportsmanlike conduct, incidents or displays on the part of the participants or fans;

• There shall be no destructive criticisms of officials’ decisions;

• No mention shall be made of injuries, unpreventable accidents, or other incidents which may cause any anxiety on the part of the viewers.

Press box guidelines

The host venue should make every attempt to accommodate both the home and visitor team production crews for telecasts and webcasts while following all social distancing recommendations, face covering requirements, and other health related recommendations by their local and state authorities.

Press box capacity should include at least six feet between individuals when possible, and all individuals are required to wear face coverings.

Schools should limit production crews to those individuals essential to the telecast.

Advertisement restrictions

The following categories are prohibited during telecasts of any UIL activities:

• Political announcements

• Cigarettes or other tobacco product

• Gambling services or venues

• Sexual services or adult entertainment venues

• Alcohol and firearms advertisements

Alleged violations of these provisions fall under the jurisdiction of the district and state executive committees. The UIL said violations will be subject to the range of penalties listed in the UIL Constitution and Contest Rules.

Any negotiations regarding telecasts are at the discretion of the school district and must be in compliance with UIL rules. All revenues generated belong to the entities involved in the agreement, the UIL said.

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