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Saturday, July 28, 2018: Interest in streaming games picking up

   Leading off today: In the first of what I presume will be many stories on the subject around the state, reported Friday that several Section 3 schools have signed on with the NFHS Network in order to stream athletic events for the upcoming school year.

   The story reported at least half a dozen Central New York schools have installed automated cameras in their stadiums or gymnasiums in preparation for the fall season.

   The remotely controlled cameras cost approximately $5,000 apiece and can relay both game action and scoreboard information to viewers, who buy monthly or annual subscriptions for access to streams from schools across the country.

   Schools can provided play-by-play commentary from students or adults or just let the system pick up the PA announcer.

   Interest in streaming is expected to pick up momentum in light of Spectrum's pullback from locally negotiated contracts with leagues and sections across much of the state. A year ago, the cable giant showed one football game a week on its 24-hour news channels in various markets and streamed as many as three other Friday contests.

   It's not just NFHS Network that's getting in on the ground floor. Kevin Devaney Jr., who'd carved out a substantial following in the tri-state area at News 12 Varsity before the company made substantial cuts to its high school sports commitment in December, announced this week that he's now working for Local Live as its director of digital media.

   Devaney is striving to install Local Live cameras at every Section 1 school by 2020 to feed its streaming and on demand service.

   Local Live also has an agreement to be the exclusive broadcast provider for the New Jersey Super Football Conference through a partnership with, and Devaney says the company intends to be a player when it comes to obtaining rights agreements for postseason events.

   Speaking of technology: It's pretty tough to find a large or mid-sized school that does not employ the Hudl video system these days, particularly for football.

   Coaches utilize it to break down video from their own games and practices, schools use it to fulfill required film exchanges with upcoming opponents and players have come to rely on it for getting their highlights into the hands of college recruiters.

   In the wrong hands, though, the technology can be problematic.

   Football coaches at Bradenton, Fla., Braden River were caught using a college Hudl account to view opponents' game and practice videos, the Sarasota Herald reported. Pirates coaches apparently used a college recruiting log-in to improperly access Hudl video on Venice, which eliminated Braden River in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs and went on to win the state title. Braden River also accessed video on three earlier opponents according to the report.

   "Hudl users place a great deal of trust in our product and the people behind it, and their privacy has always been our top priority,"a Hudl spokesman said. "In turn, we trust them to respect our tools and the many coaches and athletes they impact. We were disappointed to learn that one of our users recently violated these terms of service by gaining improper access to a Hudl account and abusing its services. We thoroughly investigated the matter as soon as it was brought to our attention and took immediate action,

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revoking all access to Hudl and alerting the appropriate parties."

   Change of heart: Recent Canisius graduate Jayce Johnson had a two-fold change of heart this week, switching schools and sports to begin his college career.

   Johnson said Friday he had decommitted from the Wagner College football program and would instead play basketball at Middle Tennessee State.

   "This has been quite a process and it all made sense in the end," Johnson said on social media. "I would like to thank the Wagner football staff for being the first college to believe in me & offer me a scholarship. The love that you showed me didn't go unnoticed, which made decommit- ting such a tough decision."

   Johnson had quarterbacked Canisius to back-to-back Monsig- nor Martin football championships and caught the eye of Wagner coaches by going 18-for-21 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns to beat Cardinal Hayes 50-44 for the state CHSAA championship.

   In basketball, he averaged 12.6 points, 6.1 rebounds an 3.4 assists as a senior.

   Settled: Section 1 and the area's 37 officials organizations have reached agreement on a new five-year contract that will include raises for all officials and penalties for those who reject assignments within 72 hours of a contest.

   The turn-back policy had been a factor in stalled negotiations, but the fines are not as stiff as they were in the contract Section 1 proposed earlier this year, according to the officials' lead negotiator Dave Greiner.

   The rate for all varsity officials was increased to $117 per game. Under the previous contract, officials were broken into two tiers -- $110 or $103 -- by sport.

   Fines for late cancellations will go as high as 20 percent for games turned back within 24 hours of the scheduled start. The are waivers for extenuating circumstances.

   The new contract is set to begin Sept. 1.

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