UPDATE (7:34 p.m. Wednesday, April 14): Montgomery County Public Schools Director of Systemwide Athletics Jeff Sullivan responded to WDVM’s inquiry as to whether student broadcasters will be allowed at games in the Spring and said “extracurricular activities are returning to campuses as well and we hope that activities and opportunities will continue to expand. We will work collaboratively with sponsors and our Task Force to assist with providing such opportunities for coverage. As you know things are changing weekly and we have maximized the student experience every step of the way.” Gotkin told WDVM that he received a call from a school official that told him they received county permission for QO Sports Network to broadcast games in the spring.
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) – Quince Orchard high school junior Adam Gotkin is the voice of QO sports and the president of the QO Sports Network, a club that includes about a dozen student sports broadcasters.
In the 2019-20 school year, before the pandemic upended normalcy, Gotkin says that the club provided live-streamed commentary of a variety of QO sports for nearly 30 games. But with the return of in-person Montgomery County Public Schools high school sports, games began being played in March. Gotkin and his club have not been able to be in attendance to broadcast those games.
“Because we’re designated as an extracurricular activity, we’re not allowed at all on campus yet. We’ve told maybe things will change in a week and we’ve been told that multiple times,” Gotkin said.
Gotkin tells WDVM that the school told him it was a county decision. WDVM reached out to MCPS asking if student media will be allowed in-person to cover games in the Spring season, but did not receive a response.
“We don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to just either sit in the stands or up in the press box and do what we need to do,” Gotkin said. “We could be twenty feet away from everyone else and do everything perfect, everyone could be wearing masks. A number of our club members are fully vaccinated.”
Gotkin says the club was presented with the option to broadcast games remotely through the NFHS feed, but says that they would need to be at the games to adequately provide coverage. In order to watch the NFHS feed of games, parents and other interested parties must pay a fee of $10.99/month.
“If anyone has watched that, it’s almost impossible to see what’s happening, which is pretty unfortunate, it’s really rough quality,” Gotkin said of the NFHS feed. “You have grandparents, you have siblings, you have friends and teachers. These people want to be able to know what’s going on and listen to the games. We’d like to be able to provide our service to them and give our club members experience and allow them to do what they want.”
Gotkin added that many of the student broadcasts in the club play spring sports, and will not be able to broadcast games in the spring, after missing out in the Fall. He also says that some members of the club are interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism and missing out on important repetitions of broadcasting games to help them grow.