UIL lifts broadcast ban on football for 2020 season

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
The University Interscholastic League will allow  the 2020 season football games to be broadcast live on television and other platforms for the first time. The change is for one season only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University Scholastic League has lifted its ban on broadcasting football games for the 2020 season, officials announced Wednesday.

In the past, the UIL has allowed radio stations to broadcast games but they have not allowed live video coverage of any football games. The change for the upcoming season is due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt says that the plan is to open the 2020 #TXHSFB football season on time, play a full schedule and play to fans in the stadiums. The caveat is that under Gov. Gregg Abbott’s current COVID-19 restrictions, a stadium is only allowed to be filled to 50% capacity.

Breithaupt said that he hopes televising the games will give people the chance to see games they may otherwise miss due to the restrictions.

"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, he said. “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,“ Breithaupt said. ”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 who wouldn’t ordinarily come because of COVID-19."

Breithaupt said that this will be a one-and-done deal.

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

Breithaupt said there will also be some changes to the off-season programs, including that strength and conditioning can be done before or after the school day. This change will open up the athletic class period to focus on skill instruction due to the time lost from the COVID-10 pandemic.

The UIL's 2020-21 calendar will be released on July 1 rather than its usual June 1 release. Celebrations across the state are being planned for the 100th anniversary of UIL football this season.