Media Credential Policy

The following media credential policy was established to provide a clear understanding of the procedures followed by the Florida High School Athletic Association in processing requests for media credentials.

A. FHSAA Regular Season

This policy applies only to FHSAA State Series contests. Member schools may choose to adopt all or part of this policy for use during the regular season, but they are not obligated to adhere to this policy outside of FHSAA State Series competition. A year-long FHSAA credential does not guarantee you admission to a regular-season contest.

B. FHSAA State Series Prelims (District, Reigonal, Semifinals*)

The FHSAA does not issue credentials to state series events on the district, regional and applicable state semifinal levels. State series event managers are encouraged (but not required) to provide complimentary admission and extend professional courtesies to representatives of credible news media organizations upon vetting them in advance. Upon arrival to the venue, such outlets should provide valid news media identification.

  • Working news media with valid press identification shall be admitted to the facility without charge for FHSAA Non-Championship State Series Events provided they have the written approval of the host school's athletic director. This valid press identification must be issued to the individual by the news media organization which the individual represents. Credentials from prior events covered do not serve as valid press identification. A year-long FHSAA credential does not guarantee you admission to an FHSAA Non-Championship State Series Event.
  • Every effort should be made by the host to provide all media personnel with seating which allows an unobstructed view of the playing area. It is preferable that this seating be at mid-court or mid-field from the center out. The host school principal or contest managers should reserve more space for the news media for an FHSAA State Series contest than is required for a regular season contest. Media must notify the host 24 hours before the event to request such seating.
  • An outlet which has been approved by the athletic director and the FHSAA to originate broadcasts of an FHSAA State Series contest must be provided with an adequate area in which to work. This area should provide an unobstructed view of the playing area. The station must contact the host school principal or contest manager in advance to make arrangements for seating and equipment set-up. (See the FHSAA Broadcast Policy for details.)
  • Media personnel must understand that certain facilities in which FHSAA State Series contests may be held will have limited seating in the press box or media seating area and that it may be necessary for them to sit in the spectator seating area. When such situations occur, the host school principal or contest manager should give priority consideration to the principal media outlets covering the two schools participating in the particular contest.
  • Media personnel may prefer to cover FHSAA State Series football and soccer games from the sidelines. Access to the sidelines is left to the discretion of the host school principal or contest manager who should guard against the overcrowding of the sideline areas which may threaten the safety of the media personnel, the participants and the contest officials. Media personnel must remain outside each team box at all times.
    • Media personnel must avoid distracting the participating teams and refrain from entering either team’s box during the game.
    • Photographers and videographers are prohibited from erecting tripods on the sidelines during the game.
  • The host school should cooperate with media personnel in providing them access to a work area following an FHSAA State Series contest so that the media personnel may file their account of the contest. Please understand that these individuals are working on a deadline. The head coach of each competing team is encouraged to cooperate with the news media by participating in interviews as quickly as possible following the conclusion of the contest and providing game statistics or meet results when available.
  • Designated Media Areas are mandatory for all FHSAA State Series baseball and softball games which are played in facilities without camera wells.
    • The host school shall be responsible for determining the location of the area and clearly marking its boundaries. The FHSAA recommends the area be located behind either the first base coaching box or the third base coaching box and that the boundary of the area most distant from home plate be flush with the baseline between first and second base extended or the baseline between second and third base extended. The FHSAA further recommends the area be 20 feet wide and at least five feet deep with the back of the area being the fence or dugout area.
    • Only photographers and videographers should be allowed in the area. Reporters should remain off the playing field while the game is in progress.
    • The Umpire-in-Chief will check for the location of the area and shall be the final judge as to the safety of its location. If in the judgment of the umpire, the area is not safely located or could be involved too much in play, the umpire may prohibit the use of the area. Photographers and videographers will be required to remain off the playing field if use of the area is prohibited.
    • While the FHSAA does not require Designated Media Areas be marked for regular season baseball and softball games, umpires shall be instructed to enforce National Federation Baseball Rules and National Federation Softball Rules and prohibit access to unmarked fields by photographers and videographers. For this reason, the FHSAA strongly recommends the areas be marked so that photo and video coverage of regular season contests is not jeopardized.
  • Electronic flash equipment may be used by photographers at FHSAA State Series contests provided the use of such equipment does not interfere with the conduct of the competition. The host school principal, contest manager and/or the officials assigned to work the contest will have the authority to require photographers to cease using electronic flash equipment if it is determined that it interferes with the conduct of the competition. Photographers should be granted reasonable access to the out-of-bounds areas of the court or field in all sports as long as their presence does not interfere with the contest and does not endanger either themselves, the student-athletes or the officials working the contest. The host school principal, contest manager and/or the officials assigned to work an FHSAA State Series contest will have the authority to require the repositioning of photographers if they believe their placement may threaten the safety of the participants or interfere with the conduct of the competition.
  • If members of the news media do not abide by the news media rules and regulations established by the host school principal, athletic director, contest manager and the FHSAA for an FHSAA State Series contest, their credentials may be revoked and/or they may jeopardize their opportunity to secure credentials in the future. The contest manager will have the authority to act on the behalf of the FHSAA in enforcing this policy.

C. Florida High School State Championships

1. Requests for media credentials for each Florida High School State Championship event must be submitted online via the FHSAA media site by the deadline established for the event. The online form must be completed in its entirety. It is the responsibility of the individual to confirm that his or her request has been received. The request can only be made by an editor/manager of a news outlet or publication, or an owner/operator of an Internet site.

2. The issuance of all media credentials to Florida High School State Championship events is at the sole discretion of the FHSAA staff. Sub- mission of a credential request does not guarantee a representative a media credential. All requests will be reviewed and must be approved by the FHSAA staff. The FHSAA staff will notify any individual whose request has been approved or denied. Having been issued a credential in previous years does NOT guarantee you will be approved for following years.

3. Only those representatives whose requests are submitted by the advertised deadline and are approved will be issued credentials. Late requests will not be guaranteed processing. Media representatives not approved for credentials in advance will not be issued credentials upon arrival at the site of the event. Credentials must be picked up at the media entrance to the event. Under no circumstance will credentials be mailed. Proper photo identification will be required of individuals when picking up credentials.

4. Credentials to a Florida High School State Championship event will be issued on a space-available basis only to: 

  • Representatives of daily newspapers who are covering the event (limit of four (4)); 
  • Television personnel who are directly involved in covering the event for a newscast production (limit of three (3)); 
  • Broadcast crews of a radio station self-originating an approved play-by-play broadcast of the event (limit of three (3)); 
  • Non-daily newspapers whose primary circulation area includes a school participating in the event (limit of two (2)); 
  • Non-originating radio stations providing on-air updates of the event (limit of one (1));
  • Internet sites, specialty publications and out-of-state media subject to additional restrictions below (limit of one (1)). Requests for credentials beyond the categories listed above and/or above the specified number allowed must be accompanied by an explanation of the necessity for the additional credentials.

FHSAA POLICY (NEW IN 2017-18)

  • 44.2 Student-based Media. Credential requests from a member school to the Florida High School State Championships must be submitted by the Athletic Director. Credentials will be limited to three (3). One (1) for an active student reporter, one (1) for an active student photographer and one (1) for a school faculty member to serve in a supervisory capacity over that student. Credentials will only be issued for the purpose of reporting on the event.
  • 44.2.1 Member school photographers will not be permitted. The official photographer of the FHSAA will provide a maximum of five (5) complimentary professional photographs to any requesting school from the Florida High School State Championship event in which the member school is competing. All photo requests must be submitted to the official photographer of the FHSAA, in writing, not less than 72 hours prior to the start of the event. These photos are only to be used in the member school’s publications (yearbook, newspaper, newsletters) and corresponding internet platforms (websites, social media). Use of the provided images must include photo credit to the official photographer of the FHSAA.

* Photo Requests must be submitted by the Athletic Director.

5. Requests from Internet sites must be submitted no later than two weeks in advance of the event to allow the FHSAA staff time to determine credibility by reviewing the site and its content. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to the following guidelines:

  • Internet sites must have demonstrated a history and reputation of covering sporting events involving multiple FHSAA member schools and must update their website with FHSAA content on a regular basis.
  • Content on the site is original, objective, news-gathering in nature and has editorial oversight. Content must be updated on a regular basis in the form of stories, game stories and updates, comprehensive scores, standings, statistics or streaming. Photos, recruitment content, highlight videos, rankings and forums do not, in and of themselves, meet criteria for approving credentials.
  • Internet sites must have a unique registered domain name ending in one of the recognized extensions (.com, .cc, .edu, .net, .org).
  • Parallel Internet sites owned and operated by traditional media (i.e., newspapers, radio stations and television stations) may be issued credentials if the request is for the purpose of reporting unique content that only can be accomplished by receiving the credentials. In instances where space is limited, such credentials may be counted as part of the traditional media outlets’ allotment.
  • Internet sites must furnish, upon request, certifiable traffic numbers from an established auditing firm (i.e. Nielsen), or from its service provider. Hit counters on pages will not fulfill these requirements. The following information may be requested: the average number of “unique viewers/visitors” to the site in the last 30, 60 and 90 days; the average number of “page views” by each visitor; and the name and telephone number of the auditing firm or service provider to discuss and ensure the accuracy of the numbers.

6. Requests from specialty publications (magazines and other periodicals) must be submitted no later than two weeks in advance of the event to allow the FHSAA staff time to review the publication and its content to determine credibility. Specialty publications must have a demonstrated record of sustained coverage of high school sports. Specialty publications must declare their coverage plans so that the FHSAA staff can determine the legitimacy of the request, if the content to be printed does not duplicate existing content already being provided, or if the content to be printed violates rights already granted by the FHSAA to another party.

7. Out-of-state media organizations must have a circulation area that includes the community of a participating school and must have covered that school throughout the regular season and state series. All other out-of state media organizations must explain the necessity for their coverage of the event.

8. Media representatives who receive credentials to a Florida High School State Championship event must be on assignment for a specific media organization. Credential requests for freelance reporters, freelance photographers, correspondents or stringers must be submitted on their behalf by the media organization for which they are working.

9. The following organizations and/or individuals will not be granted credentials:

  • Independent photographers not representing a publication or newspaper.
  • Internet sites who are a scouting or recruiting service.
  • Internet sites that are primarily rooted in evaluation and recruitment.
  • Publications or Internet sites operated by recruiting services.
  • Personal page Internet site publishers.
  • Internet sites with content that is subscription-based or that require paid membership to view content.
  • Internet sites intending to merely report information already available on the FHSAA web site.
  • Specialty publications that provide only recruiting lists or lists of outstanding teams.
  • Any publication or Internet site deemed to be in poor taste or incompatible with the mission of interscholastic athletics as determined by the FHSAA.

10. Credentials will not be issued to commercial photographers. Photographers wishing to cover a Florida High School State Championship event must be on assignment from a recognized news organization and be using professional camera equipment. The FHSAA prohibits the sale of photographs from state series events, and will not credential any photographer whose photos will be used for any purpose other than news media coverage.


11. Credentials or complimentary tickets for spouses, friends, etc. of news media representatives will not be provided. Individuals who attend an event with a credentialed news media representative will be required to purchase a ticket.

12. Media credentials to a Florida High School State Championship event are issued for the sole purpose of identifying and providing complimentary admission and special access to representatives who have a legitimate working function in connection with the event. Credentials are non-transferable and may be used only by those representatives to whom they are issued. Any media organization that wishes to change the name(s) of its credentialed representatives may do so in writing to the FHSAA staff prior to the event. Unauthorized use, sale or other transfer of a credential will subject the bearer to ejection from the event and the indefinite denial of credentials to future events.


13. Credentials, once issued, remain the property of the FHSAA and are subject to revocation and confiscation at the discretion of the FHSAA Commissioner and/or his/her designees. Grounds for revocation and confiscation of a credential include, but are not limited to, misuse, abuse and/or transfer of the credential to anyone other than to the person to whom the credential is issued. Any media outlet whose representative has a credential revoked for any reason is subject to being denied credentials to future FHSAA events.

14. Should any credentialed representative become verbally or physically confrontational or abusive for any reason, or refuse to cooperate or comply with the conditions of the credential or the established guidelines for conduct of news media representatives during the event, the FHSAA has the right to revoke and confiscate the credential and have the offending representative removed from the premises. In all such cases, the FHSAA will report the incident to the representative’s employer and will reserve the right to withhold approval of future requests for credentials by the representative as well as his or her employer.

15. Credential bearers and their employers assume all risks incurred to the performance by the bearers for their services and assume all risks incidental to FHSAA-related events whether occurring prior to, during or sequential to the actual playing of the contests.

16. Acceptance of a credential constitutes an agreement by the bearer and his or her organization to abide by the foregoing policy, as well as the following conditions:

“Conditions Placed on Use of Floriad High School State Championship Media Credentials

This working credential is issued for the sole purpose of providing facility access to a representative of an accredited media organization recognized by the FHSAA who has a legitimate working function in connection with this Florida High School State Championship event. It is non-transferable. Any unauthorized use of this credential subjects the bearer to ejection from the facility and/or his/her organization to forfeit future privileges. Issuance and use of this credential is subject to the following conditions:
1. This credential shall be used solely for news and editorial coverage (bona-fide news purposes) of this Florida High School State Championship event.
2. Any use of news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images for entertainment and commercial purposes and not for bona-fide news purposes is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of the FHSAA. The selling of news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images is exclusive to the FHSAA and/or any other company so designated by the FHSAA.
3. The accredited media organization and bearer shall indemnify, defend and save harmless the FHSAA, its officers, agents, employees and each of its member schools, their officers, agents and employees, from and against any and all expenses, lawsuits, damages, costs and liabilities (including reasonable attorney fees and expenses) incurred by, arising from, or in connection with:
• the unauthorized use of news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images, whether such unauthorized use is by the bearer, the accredited media organization designating the bearer to use the credential on its behalf, or some third party to whom the bearer distributes news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images;
• any injuries resulting from acts or omissions by the bearer or some third party to whom the bearer directly or indirectly distributed news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images;
• any cameras, wires, cables, computers, telephones or any other equipment brought to the premises by the bearer, or
• the use of any news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images or any other matter other than coverage of this Florida High School State Championship event.
NOTE: Should approval be granted to use news and editorial content or photographs/electronic images for entertainment or commercial use, the accredited media organization and/or bearer agrees to obtain all necessary licenses, consents or releases permitting the use of any party’s proprietary material, including, but not limited to, any party’s copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, rights of privacy or other proprietary or personal rights, however denominated, included in any photograph/electronic image taken or other material obtained in connection with the credential. The accredited media organization and/or bearer is solely responsible for determining which licenses, consents and releases shall be obtained.
4. Irrevocable permission is granted to the FHSAA and its assignees to utilize the bearer’s voice, image and likeness in connection with any broadcast, other recording or print reproduction of the event without compensation.
5. Bearer assumes all risk and danger incidental to this Florida High School State Championship event, whether occurring prior to, during or sequential to the event, and releases the FHSAA and all agents thereof from any and all liabilities resulting from such cases.
6. This credential is the property of the FHSAA and may be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of the FHSAA and will automatically terminate if any term hereof is breached. In cases deemed unique by the FHSAA, these policies and any other FHSAA media policies may be amended. The accredited media organization and/or bearer that breaches the conditions of use of this credential is subject to legal liability as well as all costs incurred in enforcing the terms of these conditions including but not limited to reasonable attorney fees.
7. Acceptance of this credential constitutes agreement by the bearer and his or her organization to abide by the foregoing conditions, other FHSAA media policies, as well as guidelines established for the conduct of media representatives at this Florida High School State Championship event. Thank you for your cooperation.”
8. "Cheerleading" or verbal abuse of contest officials or FHSAA officials in the working media areas will not be tolerated. These areas will be maintained to offer a working atmopshere conducive to productivity and concentration. Violation of this policy may result in the loss of credentials and ejection from the news media area.

Photography at Florida High School State Championships

  • Electronic flash equipment may be used by photographers at FHSAA State  High School Championship events held outdoors provided the use of such equipment does not interfere with the conduct of the competition. The use of electronic flash equipment, other than strobe flash, at FHSAA State Championship events held indoors, however, is strictly prohibited. The FHSAA, contest manager and/or the officials assigned to work the contest will have the authority to require photographers to cease using electronic flash equipment at outdoor contests if it is determined that it interferes with the conduct of the competition.
  • Photographers and videographers displaying proper credentials to FHSAA  High School State Championship events will be granted reasonable access to the out-of-bounds areas of the court or field in all sports as long as their presence does not interfere with the contest and does not endanger either themselves, the student-athletes or the officials working the contest, and does not violate the rules of the host facility. However, the FHSAA reserves the right to limit shooting spaces and shooting locations on an event-by-event basis.
  • Designated Media Areas will be marked when necessary for the FHSAA State Baseball Championships and at the FHSAA State Softball Championships. Only photographers and videographers will be allowed in these areas.