MANUALS: MEDIA POLICY
Manuals provide the most up to date policies, rules, and regulations for Iowa High School Athletic Association sports in the regular season and postseason. Those seeking more information or clarifications on the contents of this manual should contact IHSAA communications director: Chris Cuellar, [email protected].
All other inquiries should be directed through athletic directors or coaches at member schools or host schools.
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The Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Media Policy Manual is intended to provide information and insight into policies approved by the Board of Control for the governance of media coverage at sanctioned events.
Media members and interested parties should carefully review the policies within, which include the issuance of credentials, school/student media, professional conduct, state tournament coverage, and more.
The IHSAA’s media rights holder for select state championship events is the Iowa High School Sports Network. Policies within this manual and regulations for such events are to comply with IHSSN’s stated rules and regulations. Please view IHSSN’s media resources for more information.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Boone, Iowa for the purpose of promoting, developing, directing, protecting, and regulating amateur interscholastic athletic relationships between member schools and to stimulate fair play, friendly rivalry, and good sportsmanship among contestants, schools, and communities throughout the state.
The IHSAA offers free membership to all schools recognized or registered with the State of Iowa’s Department of Education. The nine-member Board of Control meets regularly in Boone. The 25-member Representative Council meets at least twice annually. Sport and activity Advisory Committees are required to meet at least once a year.
- Approved minutes from Board of Control meetings will be published online. Decisions and policies deemed newsworthy will be compiled in “Board Meeting Briefs” and posted through the IHSAA’s News page and released to media members.
- Members of the media who would like to attend Board of Control or Representative Council meetings should notify the IHSAA at least 24 hours before the meeting.
- Information, data requests, and inquiries to the IHSAA should be submitted to communications director, Chris Cuellar: [email protected].
- Bylaws, regulations, and more information can be found on the IHSAA’s General Resources page.
Professional Expectations & Tournament Policies
The expectation of approved and credentialed media is to maintain a professional and productive work environment at all state tournament events, whether on the sidelines, conducting interviews, or in the press box. While enforcement may vary by event or sport, the desire to maintain a courteous atmosphere to cover high school sporting events remains the same.
- Cheering and other reactive behavior is unprofessional and NOT permitted in working media areas.
- Professional media members should not wear the attire or logo (shirts, hats, etc.) of schools participating in the state tournament event they are covering. School media representatives are exempt from this policy.
- Credentials are non-transferrable. Approved media representatives found to have sold or given credentials to unapproved or unauthorized media representatives will have their passes removed.
- Seating arrangements may be utilized at select state tournament events. Please respect the space and property of those around you at all state tournament events to maintain a clean and professional work area. Limit the use of bags and equipment on tables and chairs in crowded spaces or press areas.
- Children and non-credentialed family members are not permitted in working media areas unless previously authorized by the IHSAA.
- No media members are allowed in the locker rooms of participating teams at any IHSAA state tournament event.
- The IHSAA neither provides nor is responsible for media parking at state tournament venues. If media parking becomes available or is provided by venues, the IHSAA will notify media members.
General State Tournament Policies
- No alcohol or tobacco products are allowed – sold or consumed – on the grounds of any IHSAA state tournament venue. See: Iowa Code 805.8C(3) and 123.46.
- The unauthorized use or possession of unmanned aircraft or aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, is prohibited for any purpose by any person at any IHSAA postseason event. The IHSAA does not regulate the use of UAS/drones above host school properties during regular season events.
- No pets are permitted at state tournament events, however, select individuals may be accompanied by service or assistive animals. See: Iowa Code 216C.
State Tournament Media Credentials
The IHSAA issues credentials to bona fide media outlets for entry and access to state tournament events. Credentials must be visible when attending state tournament events. The sale or unauthorized transfer of credentials is strictly prohibited. These credentials are not required to cover IHSAA regular season or postseason lead-up events.
The state tournament credential produced and fulfilled by the IHSAA will be a coed credential issued in conjunction with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. The pass is good for all IHSAA and IGHSAU state tournament events in the stated athletic year. This includes boys’ tournaments, girls’ tournaments, and coed tournaments in cross country, bowling, track and field, and soccer.
Passes will be mailed to approved outlets before the first state tournament event. Other outlets requesting credentials or not receiving any for should contact the IHSAA.
Radio stations do not receive the pass as they will be credentialed by IHSSN for most IHSAA events. For all other IHSAA and all IGHSAU state tournament events, radio outlets should apply through each organization’s pre-tournament registration.
Credentials and/or access will be granted to approved media outlets across various platforms including, but not limited to: daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, other print or web-based publications, and television stations.
- The IHSAA will only credential bona fide media outlets whose organizations display the following criteria prior to a state tournament event:
- Legitimate and consistent news-gathering;
- Editorial oversight;
- Original content production;
- A record of coverage;
- The demonstration of service toward community interest.
- The IHSAA and IGHSAU reserve the right to set policies and regulate the number of credentials issued to approved media outlets at their respective state tournament events.
- Independent or commercial photographers will NOT be credentialed for IHSAA state tournament events. Photographers and videographers must be affiliated with approved media outlets and news-gathering organizations to receive access.
- Social media-based services, scouting or recruiting services, college coaches, private club organizations, etc., will NOT receive media credentials for IHSAA state tournament events.
- All credentialed and interested media outlets, including those with a credential pass, MUST complete an online registration form before attending state tournament events in: football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, track and field, and baseball.
- Registration forms will be made available at www.iahsaa.org before each tournament.
- Applications will be confirmed or denied via email by the IHSAA.
- Credentialed and/or approved media members, including those with a credential, will be required to check in upon arrival each day at state tournament events that require registration.
- Temporary passes, good for one state tournament event, can be issued for individuals from approved media outlets who will be added to state tournament event coverage. These should be added to pre-tournament registration forms whenever possible.
- Freelance reporters and photographers must have assigning editors/managers submit credential requests on their behalf. Independent media members without approved affiliations will not be credentialed.
- By accepting and using this credential, the bearer and their outlet agrees to abide by IHSAA policies and regulations. This credential may be revoked or removed at any time at the sole discretion of the IHSAA.
School Media Representatives
The IHSAA welcomes members of school media organizations to state tournament events. While permanent credentials will not be issued to school media members, a temporary credential and access are available at all state tournament events. School media representatives must abide by policies established within this manual.
- School media organizations include, but are not limited to: newspaper, magazine, yearbook, television station, district publications, or website. Representatives may be reporters, photographers, or videographers.
- School media representatives must present the IHSAA school media representative form at media check-in, as signed and approved by a member school administrator.
- Starting in 2022, no tickets are required for school media representatives.
- Notes will be retained by IHSAA staff upon arrival at each tournament. Only one note is necessary per school media representative.
- Only schools with finals competitors will be allowed access for the state wrestling traditional tournament finals.
- School media representatives may be students OR an adult working on behalf of school media organizations.
- Students serving as school media representatives are welcome at state tournament events and encouraged to learn in a professional media environment. Varying numbers of credentials can be issued to each school’s working students per event, space permitting.
- If an adult or non-student is the selected school media representative for a state tournament event, only ONE credential will be granted. No additional credentials will be granted for students.
- Should the parent/guardian of a participant be selected as a school media representative, member school administrators should share professional media guidelines and expectations prior to arrival.
- School radio or audio outlets should apply through IHSSN, where applicable.
State Tournament Coverage
Once media members arrive at state tournament events, the IHSAA will attempt to serve, direct, and answer any questions that arise. One complimentary program will be given to each credentialed individual, and at select events, detailed tournament information. Guides, manuals, and postseason information can always be found at www.iahsaa.org.
- Credentials are required to access state tournament venues and work space at all IHSAA events, except for golf (fall and spring) and tennis.
- All credentialed and interested media outlets should complete an online registration form before attending state tournament events in: football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, track and field, and baseball. Daily check-in is required at these events upon entry. Registration forms may be made available at www.iahsaa.org before each tournament.
- Press box, work space, and interview space varies by venue and sport. Media members will be advised before each tournament and/or upon arrival of provided arrangements.
- Coverage boundaries vary by venue and sport. Media members are never allowed to provide coverage inside locker rooms at IHSAA state tournament events. Positioning on team benches and inside in-game huddles are also off-limits. A list of boundaries will be updated and provided as thoroughly as possible before each state tournament. The most common areas of concern by sport include, but are not limited to:
- Football: Stay behind dashed media safety lines on sidelines and end zone; stay out of team bench area.
- Wrestling: Stay out of team warm-up areas; mats provided on floor for photo zones; on-deck seating provided out on competition floor.
- Swimming: No photographers or media allowed on bulkhead directly behind starting blocks or on turn-around bulkhead between pools.
- Bowling: Stay out of team seating areas during competition; no photographers allowed out on lanes or on bumpers between lanes.
- Basketball: Stay within provided tape or markers when filming or shooting on baseline.
- Track & Field: At race starts, do not block line of sight of starter or officials; at race finishes, do not go within boundary lines for Finish Lynx camera system; infield turf available for use, except taped off warm-up section on north end; do not go over stadium fencing to the track at any time; Drake’s Fieldhouse is for student-athletes and coaches only.
- Soccer: Do not set up or photograph near or directly behind goalposts while game is in progress; press box and work space is extremely limited.
- Baseball: Photographers are allowed in outer equipment dugouts on first and third base lines; no media personnel are allowed in team dugouts.
- To select participants for interviews after state tournament events in football, basketball, and baseball, IHSAA personnel will be available to receive requests in assigned media work spaces. IHSAA personnel may also provide assistance in finding participants for interviews after state tournament events in other sports.
State Tournament Audio, Photo, Video Regulations
Audio regulations at IHSAA state tournament events are determined by state tournament rights contracts for the athletic year.
- The exclusive broadcast rights for IHSAA state tournament events in belong to the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN) and/or NFHS Network.
- Radio outlets seeking credentials for state tournament event rights not held by IHSSN should contact the IHSAA’s communications director before that tournament. The IHSAA can issue temporary credentials.
- Contact communications director Chris Cuellar: [email protected].
- Audio advertisements or promotions associated with alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gambling, performance enhancing substances, or lewd subject matter are strictly prohibited.
- Radio stations will not receive the hard-copy credential as they will be credentialed by the IHSSN for key IHSAA events. For all other IHSAA and all IGHSAU state tournament events, they should apply through each organization’s pre-tournament registration.
The IHSAA welcomes photographers from approved media outlets and will make efforts to provide work space and Internet connections for photographers whenever possible at state tournament events.
- Independent or commercial photographers will NOT be credentialed for IHSAA state tournament events. Photographers and videographers must be affiliated with approved media outlets and news-gathering organizations or have those assigning editors apply on their behalf to receive access.
- The use of flash photography equipment is acceptable at state tournament events, provided use does not interfere with the event. The IHSAA reserves the right to prohibit the use of flash equipment if it interferes with any event.
- Other state tournament situations when flash is NOT recommended include, but are not limited to:
- Swimming: Lead up to and start of any race;
- Bowling: lead-up and release of participant;
- Basketball: Immediately before free throws;
- Track & Field: Immediately before and during starting gun;
- Golf: Immediately before and during swing.
- Other state tournament situations when flash is NOT recommended include, but are not limited to:
- Photographers planning to use mounted lights and/or remote control flash equipment must notify IHSAA and state tournament venue personnel before setting up.
- Photographers approved through credentialed media outlets are intended for coverage and not commercial purposes. Photographers may NOT independently sell photos from state tournament events through commercial or personal outlets.
- The IHSAA has an exclusive and contracted photographer for each state tournament event. All other photographers and media members must work around the exclusive photographer and their staff during and immediately after each game or event. Failure to do so, or the interruption of contracted awards photos, may result in the removal of credentials.
Video regulations at IHSAA state tournament events are determined by state tournament rights contracts for the athletic year.
- The production of unauthorized live video broadcasts or streams of in-competition action is prohibited at IHSAA state tournament events.
- The exclusive broadcast rights for IHSAA state tournament events belong to the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN) and/or NFHS Network.
- Media members may take and use video highlights and clips for news-gathering purposes and within the parameters of IHSSN and NFHS Network regulations at the events those entities hold rights to.
Postseason Lead-Up Recommendations
Each IHSAA sport has postseason “lead-up” activities prior to a state tournament event. These include: district and substate games, playoffs, regional events, and state qualifying meets. Host schools and host sites remain responsible for determining policies and/or practices for media at these events.
- Professional media organizations should give host schools and administrators notice of their attendance prior to events. The IHSAA provides media sign-in sheets to be used upon entry at postseason activities.
- Media outlets are responsible for confirming work space and/or expenses as determined by a host school or host site for a postseason lead-up event, including, but not limited to: Internet, work tables, production costs, parking, etc.
- Radio, television, and web-based streaming outlets may originate live broadcasts from IHSAA postseason events.
- Radio outlets producing audio broadcasts are subject to any fees and regulations of a host site and do NOT require IHSAA approval.
- Television and web-based streaming outlets may provide live video broadcasts by following the IHSAA’s policies, fees, and application structure.
Regular Season Recommendations
The Iowa High School Athletic Association oversees and sanctions 11 boys’ sports, but member schools determine their own media policies and/or practices for regular season and hosted events.
- Professional media organizations should give host schools and administrators notice of their attendance prior to events, whenever possible.
- Host schools and administrators may determine their own policies and practices, e.g.: photography shooting zones, media entrances, press box seating, interview locations, etc.
- It is the responsibility of host schools and administrators to coordinate work space for media members and ensure the safety of that work space for media members, participants, and spectators.
- It is the policy of the IHSAA that media members may not set up video devices or tripods in bleachers or stands where they may occupy seating and/or block the view of spectators.
- Radio, television, and web-based streaming outlets may originate live regular season broadcasts with approval from host schools and administrators. IHSAA approval is NOT required.
- The IHSAA is available to answer questions or serve as a mediator for school and media relations.
Postseason Lead-Up Video
Access for live video broadcasts of IHSAA postseason lead-up events that are not claimed by NFHS Network – which holds rights and right of first refusal – are eligible for purchase by media outlets and other interested parties. These lead-up events include: district and substate games, playoffs, regional events, and state qualifying meets.
- Media outlets and interested parties must apply to the IHSAA. IHSAA will seek confirmation from host school, with both parties’ approval required for each application.
- Host schools will receive 50% of each access fee.
- Applicants for postseason lead-up live video broadcasts or streams must abide by IHSAA policies. Exclusive rights to an event will not be granted to any applicant.
- Baseball, basketball, football, and soccer are priced per game. Golf, swimming, tennis, and wrestling are priced per day. Coed events are available for postseason broadcast upon request.
- Applications, policies, and fee formats are available through the Media page on the IHSAA website. Check for the “Video Access and Livestreaming” section at www.iahsaa.org/resources/media.
- Pricing and availability are subject to change.