Utah High School Activities Association Prevents Free Access to Football Games

It is great that SFCN is so connected to our community that we feel residents frustration over things we have absolutely no control over. Twitter, Facebook and our email accounts have comments from residents (some with our cable service and some without) about our lack of coverage of Maple Mountain football's playoff games.

We would carry every game if the Utah High School Activities Association would allow it. We broadcast, live, the first round game against Provo and planned on carrying the second round game. The UHSAA promptly informed us that we could NOT broadcast the game because they had sold the rights to a company that charges to have it streamed over the Internet. No amount of pleading for our residents to be able to watch the game free had any effect. Our contention is that High School Sports are NOT big business and should be made available for free! We offer the games we produce free of charge on channel SF17, but also on sfcn.org, Youtube, and KSL Digital streaming. So we not only talk the talk, but we walk the walk. High School sports are different than college sports. The students have to attend school, they have very limited choices of where they can go, and the money made from exclusive contracts, does not go back to the high school sports programs, but is used internally by the UHSAA.

We treat high school activities different in our communities. We go to great lengths to support them and the student participants. Making the activities only available on pay-per-view hurts the connection with the community, and in the long run hurts the high school programs. The UHSAA should be required to make sure the programming that these student provide is available free of charge. We have no problem not covering a game when it is covered by someone else and made available for free. In the past, we have paid for broadcast rights even if they wouldn't allow us to stream it on the Internet. This time they wouldn't even allow us to broadcast the game on our local channel.

If you don't agree with the direction the UHSAA has decided to go, then you need to contact your local State Legislator. The UHSAA is a quasi government entity and can only be controlled by the State legislature. Tell them something has to be done to make sure our kids aren't exploited and that the programs they participate in and that the community does so much to support, should be available for free.

John Bowcut
SFCN Director