Lone Star Gridiron

LIVE Friday Night Lights in Texas!

There will be LIVE Texas high school football this season

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) Legislative Council met in Austin Tuesday to discuss many items, but none were bigger than one historic proposal that passed, clearing the way for LIVE television broadcasts of Texas high school football games.

Prior to the meeting, the rules read:

Section 868: BROADCASTS OF UIL EVENTS

(c) LIVE FOOTBALL TELECAST LIMITED. UIL member schools shall not permit the live telecast of a regular
season football game on a Friday night. Live telecasts and other types of live broadcasts of UIL football
post-regular season games shall be permitted if provided for in a UIL broadcast rights contract.

The rule after the meeting was amended adding this:

2017 EXCEPTION: UIL IS ALLOWED AN EXCEPTION TO SECTION 868(C) TO AUTHORIZE THE
BROADCAST OF A MAXIMUM OF TWO LIVE FRIDAY NIGHT GAMES ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017.

As of right now, there will only be the two games on September 1st as a test. In addition to the games that are broadcast live, the broadcasts will do "look ins" to various games around the state. UIL Deputy Director Jamey Harrison referred to it as "Football Day in Texas."

We spoke with UIL Executive Director, Dr. Charles Breithaupt following the decision about the rule change.

"The celebration of football in Texas begins on September 1st with the first ever live telecast of a Friday night high school game. This provides a unique opportunity for the schools who are selected and agree to participate and showcase what high school football in Texas is all about. This is a one shot deal with Fox Sports SW. The celebration of football will continue with three college games on Saturday," said Breithaupt.

This doesn't appear to mark a shift in that the "flood gates" will open up and suddenly all the games will be on TV each week. As spelled out in the rule change, this is a one time deal, but you can be sure everyone will be paying attention to the results.

Dr. Breithaupt added, "This will not detract from the Friday night experience. The UIL honors the local control of Friday night regular season games. But, the opportunity for a one time celebration to commemorate our great game is too good to pass up. The UIL will not make a dime off of this telecast and the schools involved could expect to receive revenue that may offset any loss of their crowd. The UIL strongly believes in the community aspect of Friday night football. We all want fans to go to the games and watch the replay when they get home."

By choosing teams whose fan base will fill the stands regardless of the broadcast, it is likely that there will be no loss in gate revenue at all. This is something I have talked about and promoted recently. I feel confident the results will be positive.

by Chris Doelle

What are your thoughts?