Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2008

TV plan has plenty of positives

June 26, 2008

Attention high school football and basketball fans: Your favorite sports' state championships might be coming to prime time beginning this fall.

As for those who play or watch other sports, your time may be coming soon.

A story in the June 13 edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal looked at the prospect of state championship games being televised. It's something close to becoming a reality, thanks to an agreement reached at the Kansas State High School Activities Association's executive board meeting. At that meeting, the KSHSAA "reached a three-year partnership agreement with a contingency of television stations."

According to the Capital-Journal article, the gist of the agreement is that two state championship football games would be televised, as would one girls and one boys basketball title game. The classification of the games to be shown was not determined.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but this is a plan that should excite all fans of high school athletics. It's not all encompassing - a fact that surely will disappoint fans and participants in other sports - but it's a great first step. After a year or two of ironing out the wrinkles and gaining additional sponsors, perhaps the broadcasts could expand to cover all classes and additional sports.

The plan has to start somewhere, and the biggest revenue sports are a logical first step.

If Bonner Springs High School football coach Lew Kasselman's squad can build off of the progress it made in 2007, then who doesn't like the idea of watching a rebroadcast of the Braves' state championship football game after getting home from watching it in person? Or perhaps the small-school eight-man football championship would be broadcast. For those who haven't seen an eight-man game, they can be wildly entertaining and a real treat.

As for basketball, it sure would've been fun to have pondered the thought of watching the Basehor-Linwood High School girls on television when they made their trip to the state tournament in March.

Plus, numerous TV stations across the state have pretty much mastered the art of broadcasting high school sports already, whether it's a handful of stations in Topeka and Wichita, Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 in Lawrence or Kansas City's own Metro Sports. Perhaps all could be included in a broader plan somewhere down the road so that all of the state finals could be broadcast in every sport.

Fans who currently have to pick and choose which events they attend wouldn't have to miss out on the action at other championship sites.

The participants would benefit, too. Television means exposure, and you can bet area college coaches would record every one of the title games in their respective sport and watch them thoroughly. Maybe a big-school role player or a small-town star that has gone largely unnoticed on the recruiting circuit will get noticed. Perhaps all they needed was that one extra chance for a coach to see them play.

Keep your finger firmly on the remote control. This is a plan that looks ready to be acted upon.

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