KSHSAA explains blackout of SM East web coverage for state basketball games

Lancer fans wanting updates from SM East state semi-final basketball game last weekend were forced to follow the action on Twitter.

After enjoying full-caliber broadcast coverage of their team’s opening-round game in the state 6A boys basketball tournament last Wednesday, SM East fans were left high and dry last Friday when Metro Sports declined to broadcast the Lancers’ semi-final game against Blue Valley West and state regulations prevented the school’s in-house broadcast team from streaming coverage on the web.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association’s Jeremy Holaday explains that a policy adopted by the group’s Executive Board three years ago prohibits schools from producing in-house broadcasts of state tournament events for a number of reasons.

“When this decision was made, the thought was that the technology wasn’t there to produce a broadcast worthy of a state level competition,” Holaday said. “And you can’t ensure the neutrality that you need for a professional broadcast.”

Concerns about whether host sites for state tournaments would have the space to allow every competing school to produce a web broadcast also factored into the policy, Holaday said. However, the Executive Board allows schools to produce web broadcasts of regular season and sub-state competitions to promote educational opportunities for aspiring journalists.

Holaday said his office had received several calls from SM East fans after the blackout, and that the policy is “open for review on an ongoing basis.”

“There are a lot of schools that would love to produce these broadcasts,” Holaday said.

As for Metro Sports’ decision not to broadcast Friday’s games? The KSHSAA’s $1,750 daily fee for broadcast rights might have had something to do with it.