A Reminder from CHSAA Regarding High School Sports

Greetings from the Colorado High School Activities Association! We are happy to have this opportunity to help answer some questions and to reiterate our respect and happiness for those Colorado Broadcasters Association members that who air high school events. You are an important piece of high school sports and its traditions. The CHSAA staff and schools appreciate what you do for their students.

With the myriad of changes that have occurred in the industry over the past few years, perhaps the Association has been remiss in not keeping you better informed of the changes that have happened in high school sports. These changes have primarily affected web broadcasting and television broadcasting only, with limited overlap onto the radio side.

In Spring 2012, the Membership passed CHSAA By-Law 2840.3 which requires that any regular season linear television or web cast broadcast negotiation go through the CHSAA Office. In an effort to simplify the process, a committee of school and broadcast personnel developed the Regular Season Letter of Agreement. This LOA establish an origination fee for each of these types of broadcasts, but also gives the school the option of waiving the fee in favor of no fee or a modification of fees (i.e., X amount after expenses are covered). The forms are on www.chsaa.org.

This has required a change in the approach a broadcaster takes in determining to broadcast a school event. The first step needs to be contact with the CHSAA office which requires the filled out LOA and attaching schedules of games to be broadcast. The CHSAA office then contacts each of the schools to see if this is an approved event and for direction on the origination fee. Once that is concluded, the signed LOA is sent to broadcaster and school to move forward. Stations may contact school in advance to let them know of their interest.

The reason for the change in philosophy on regular season rights may vary by individual school, but the goal of the Association was to create a situation where the membership is protecting a property that may have been undervalued in the past. We have had instances where a broadcaster would come to the school and tell them they were broadcasting an event without prior notification, creating consternation on both parties part. In some cases, schools were expected to have personnel on site to help facilitate the broadcast that the school had to pay for, creating even more challenges as school athletic budgets shrank. In short, schools have the content that broadcasters’ desire and schools should not be giving it away unless they want to.

Because of the level of broadcasts, there were a number of issues that had to be addressed. Linear television is different than linear taped delayed broadcasts which are both different than the governmental/non-profit linear broadcast outlets. Likewise, there are differences on the web casting, as well.

Those broadcast outlets that do not have advertising and are not sponsored by outside funding will be exempt from any fees. However, it remains the school’s option to choose who will broadcast if there is a conflict, or to allow any entities to air the games.

We believe that the origination fees cover any expenses a host school might experience for a broadcast. While the issue was largely a football one, we had to develop a policy that covered all sports.

While this is largely a video issue, radio stations that web stream video should also follow the same policy to ensure that the by-laws are followed. This is a learning process for schools and broadcasters alike, but it is hoped that the process will smooth out things for both parties.

Please do not hesitate to contact Bert Borgmann at CHSAA with any questions at [email protected].

Bert Borgmann
Assistant Commissioner
Colorado High School Activities Association