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Rules for exchanging football footage yet to catch up with technology

Exchanging game film is mandatory during the high school football playoffs, but that’s not the case for the regular season.

During the annual South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association spring conference in April, Avon football coach and athletic director Tom Culver made a motion that could have changed things.

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Culver’s motion was to make online film exchange mandatory throughout the regular season and postseason for most levels of high school football, excluding Class 11AAA and 11AA.

The activities directors voted against it, 65-24.

“I think a lot of people were in favor of the online film idea, but in the proposal, I put in the word ‘mandatory,’ ” said Culver, who’s been head coach of the Pirates since 1999. “I think that scared people. When you use the word ‘mandatory,’ a lot of people don’t like to see that.”

In an informal survey, The Daily Republic found that 19 area teams did swap game film during the regular season. Among the teams that exchange film, 14 exchange online and five travel or receive their opponent’s film in the mail.

If the vote would have passed during the athletic administrator’s conference, it would have moved on to the South Dakota High School Athletic Association, which would then have decided which company to use for the swapping of game film.

Although it’s not mandatory during the regular season, there are still many teams that exchange game film.

South Dakota High School Activities Association Executive Director Wayne Carney said film exchange, online or physical copy, is not mandatory for any team during the regular season, though he added teams have a “gentlemen’s agreement.” A gentlemen’s agreement means teams can agree to swap film with each other and use the honor system to not give it to other opponents.

Carney added he does not know if online film exchange will ever become mandatory, saying, “It depends on whether the coaches and athletic directors vote for it.”

Colome does not exchange film online. Cowboy head coach Kevin Keiser is in favor of online usage because it saves time but is concerned about how teams exchange film right now.

“We swap with teams on the honor system,” Keiser said. “The thing about using online is to make it fair. All of the schools should agree to have it. Right now, some teams have it and some teams don’t. That isn’t fair because teams we might play can call other coaches and get game film on us weeks in advance or without asking us.”

During the playoffs, teams must swap game film, but it can be done through the Internet, mail or travel.

Conference example

While online game film exchange is not mandatory, Avon, along with every team in the Great Plains Conference, participates in an online film-sharing system.

The conference includes Gayville-Volin, Gregory, Burke/South Central, Andes Central, Marty Indian, Avon, Tripp-Delmont/Armour and Scotland, each of whom view the other’s game film through The Pirates played each one of those teams this season during the regular season and the only nonconference game played was against Canistota, which also uses the film exchange website.

Culver said the program costs the school $99 to order, a price he said is worth it. The alternative is burning the film on a DVD and driving to meet the future opponent the day following the previous game day.

“Our conference has changed over the years, all the teams used to be so close, but with online film exchange, it saves a lot of time and money,” Culver said. “Two years ago, we played Harding County during the playoffs and you have to exchange tapes or it is a $50 fine. If we put the game film in the mail, we might get it before them or they might get it before us and that isn’t fair, so we had to figure out a time and a place to meet halfway.”

Showing interest

Howard football coach and athletic director Pat Ruml and Lyman athletic director Cooper Garnos like the idea of the online film exchange.

Ruml has wanted to use online game film for years but hasn’t taken the plunge because there has been little interest from Cornbelt Conference teams. He said the discussion hasn’t come up between conference coaches, and a concern the Cornbelt schools have with the online film exchange is the cost.

“I think there is a little bit of an expense for it,” Ruml said. “If we all get on one site statewide, it would be great. If every school ponies up $200 and gets on Hudl, I think it would be great.

“It just comes down to whether or not you would rather drive all the way to Chamberlain or would you rather get on Hudl or one of the other programs.”

Howard swaps game film with teams by DVD. Ruml said he or one of his assistants will meet a team halfway on a Saturday morning to swap film with a regular season conference opponent. He said it does become inconvenient.

“Sometimes during playoffs I have to have somebody go out and get the film, which can become a big hassle on time and expenses.”

Garnos was present at the athletic administrators meeting but missed the vote. He said if more people around the state would get on board with the exchange, he would support it.

“I would probably support online game film with the way technology has improved. I think it is a good thing,” Garnos said. “I think it is good for the teams, especially if the conferences and coaches want to do it.”

Multiple sport use

Wagner Athletic Director Neil Goter said more than just one sports team needs to be able to use the online film exchange to be on board.

“Personally, I don’t have a dog in the hunt,” Goter said. “As an athletic director, it would be another expense and I would support my coaches and staff with what they want to do. I do have to worry about the expenses and how we would pay the bill.”

Although the motion didn’t go through in the initial discussion of the topic, Carney said exchanging film could be revisited during the football advisory committee meeting on Nov. 19.