Q: Our community is excited that UIL is allowing schools to stream football games this year because of COVID-19. Are there any limitations or rules that we should be aware of?
A: Yes, while UIL is allowing schools to live telecast football games on Friday nights during the regular season, there are guidelines and advertisement restrictions that must be followed.
Due to COVID-19, UIL has temporarily suspended Section 868(c) of the UIL Constitution and Rules prohibiting live telecasts of regular football games on Fridays for the 2020-2021 school year. However, note that no linear (TV) telecasts will be permitted on September 25, 2020 unless already permitted by Section 868(c) Pilot Program; only webcasts will be permitted that day. Subsequent to September 25, 2020, home teams and visiting teams may each have one digital webcast transmitted on the internet and one linear telecast on television per game. Webcasts may be broadcast on any media platform approved by the school or district; e.g. Facebook, Youtube, District website. Importantly, home teams must provide adequate space for the visiting team webcast production equipment.
The UIL rules provide that announcers are prohibited from dramatizing any unsportsmanlike conduct, incidents, or displays. Announcers are also prohibited from destructively criticizing officials’ decisions, and mentioning injuries, unpreventable accidents, or other incidents which may cause any anxiety on the part of the viewers.
Finally, all broadcasts must adhere to UIL telecast guidelines and advertisement restrictions. UIL prohibits the following categories of advertisements: political announcements, cigarettes or tobacco products, gambling services or venues, sexual services or adult entertainment venues, and alcohol and firearms advertisements. Be aware that violations of the UIL guidelines are subject to the range of penalties listed in the UIL Constitution and Contest rules.
For specific questions or additional information regarding UIL guidelines regarding football telecasts, please consult with your local school law attorney.