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UIL could allow Friday night football livestreams

The UIL could lift its Friday night broadcast ban of football games for the 2020 season. The decision was made by UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt during a UIL legislative meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

"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," said Dr. Breithaupt during the meeting. "Because we know this, there will many people who stay away because they are fearful, particularly our elderly and our senior citizens. We want to give them a chance to see the game based on what the local district allows. The agreement between two schools to broadcast the game either digitally or on a linear product would exists for just this year. The UIL has no interest in getting involved in those conversations unless you need out assistance. We're not going to gain one thing from this. It just gives people a chance to see the game that wouldn't ordinarily come because of COVID-19."

Following the meeting as news of the potential spread, the UIL sent a clarifcation to the media via a press release.

"The temporary suspension of the rule prohibiting live telecasts during regular season Friday night football games is under consideration for the 2020 football season under this resolution," the release said. "Until UIL releases official information regarding implementation around this issue, the current rule remains in place. Pending guidance from state authorities, further information will be forthcoming prior to the start of the 2020 football season."

The ban on livestreaming Friday night football games is included in Section 868(c) of the UIL handbook. UIL member schools cannot allow the live telecast of a regular-season football game on a Friday night. These broadcasts are allowed for games played on Thursday or Saturdays. The UIL initially took no action on the proposal to lift the Friday night broadcasting rule and a proposal to allow live streaming of football games on Friday. Dr. Breithaupt has the authority to overrule a no-action.

"I have no notion to carry this forward after this year," Dr. Breithaupt said. "This will end following this football season."

Graham head coach Kenny Davidson expressed the possibility at the Noon Lions Club meeting on June 10 that a change could be made for the 2020 season. The Steers have a road game at Midland Greenwood, 268 miles from Graham High School on Oct. 2.

"There's a rule that you can't livestream Friday night games," Davidson said. "For some reason, Thursday and Saturday games you can stream. Maybe they'll come out with a rule so you can watch it on your computer and television so you won't have to go."

The Steers have road games on Aug. 28 (at Alvarado), Sept. 4 (at Springtown), Oct. 2 (at Midland Greenwood), Oct. 16 (at Iowa Park) and Oct. 30 (at Mineral Wells). The Aug. 28 game at Alvarado is the 2020 season opener.

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