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Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Rules in Favor of IHSA

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The Honorable Patrick W. Kelley of the 7th Judicial Circuit Court of Sangamon County ruled in favor of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) at a hearing in Springfield, Illinois on November 13. Kelley ruled that the IHSA has not breached the terms of its settlement agreement with the Illinois Press Association (IPA) from 2008.

“This is the ruling we expected,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Broadcast rights fees have existed as a part of the Association’s Policies across all mediums for nearly 30 years and as new broadcast technology has evolved, such as streaming, it has naturally fallen under that umbrella. Further, the IPA settlement centered around photographs and had no carryover into broadcasting of any kind.”

The IPA contended that the IHSA was in breach of the settlement after the Association charged an IPA member a broadcast rights fee to video webcast IHSA Football Playoff games this postseason. IHSA Broadcast Rights fees are only applicable during postseason IHSA events.

“We felt our standing on this issue was further strengthened by the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in favor of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA),” said Hickman.

In August of 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the favorable decision of the district court in the case of Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and American-Hi Fi, Inc. v. Gannett Co., Inc. This judgement confirmed the rights of the WIAA to enter into exclusive agreements and administer fees for the internet broadcasting of its tournament events.

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