While many organizations have quickly altered existing policies and used technology to increase ways communities can interact and remain social during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union clings to a years old policy prohibiting live streaming of tournament games.
In a statement Wednesday night, Jason Eslinger of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union told Pearl City Media that live video is prohibited for the Muskie’s Saturday night regional game vs Linn-Marr. Citing years old policy allowing audio only live broadcasts or day-old tape delays, IGHSA effectively removed the ability for family, friends and supporters of student-athletes to enjoy one of the only live sports being played while providing no alternative of their own.
“We are maintaining the streaming policies that have been in place for the 2019-20 school year. We understand how things have changes in the face of the pandemic and we are working towards a possible change to our streaming policies for the 2020-21 year and beyond,” stated Eslinger. In the past, the IGHSAU has charged for audio rights for regionals, but now does not charge for those rights. They have no mechanism for live-streaming video, the most popular method for consuming content by the public, with or without fees to the broadcaster.
Per their website and strategic plan, objectives include increasing involvement with strategic partnerships to provide member schools and students with additional benefits and resources and promoting the “Iowa Girl” and the IGHSAU brand – past, present and future, increase participation rates, increase revenue, develop new marketing opportunities and maximize revenue opportunities and continue use of playing videos to assist coaches and officials.
When asked to expand on the decision making process and reasoning for not making a change to increase exposure for girls’ athletics, Eslinger avoided the questions and referred Discover Muscatine to Jean Berger, Executive Director of ISHSAU, who also has not responded to the questions after several attempts by Discover Muscatine.