Jared Lankford: Keeping up with changing times

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Friday nights in the fall when I was younger were mad dash, crazy and hectic events.

My family and I would travel to either Seneca or Neosho to watch a football game -- depending on who was home that night -- and then we would race home to watch the news and get the scores from other games in the area.

While we always wanted to see the highlights, what we were really interested in was information.

Information is key in life, and when boiled down to its essence, it has two simple parts. First, there is the dissemination aspect, and second, the reception.

Advertising firms, news agencies and retail businesses have always placed a premium on message proliferation. The goal has been been to get their messages and promotions in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Last year, a 30-second Super Bowl advertisement cost $4 million on average because of the value of having a product seen by such a large audience.

As time has marched forward, a premium is now being placed on the speed in which information is released. Advancements in technology, seemingly on a daily basis, have revolutionized not just the way we receive our news, but the way we live our lives.

Even in my short life, the changes in media and mass marketing have been staggering.

I was 16 when my parents finally bought our first VCR. We then taped the sports highlights and didn't have to rush home. When cell phones came along, we would call friends at other games to get scores. That gave way to text messages and Facebook threads. Then live streams of games began popping up. Twitter enhanced the streaming model, and now Snapchat reporting is on the rise.

Keeping up with changing technology and instant information has become the newest form of Keeping up with the Joneses.

With the advent of the

24-hour news cycle and the drive for instant news gratification, some organizations are being forced to take steps to keep up with the changing times.

After a vast number of complaints, the Missouri State High School Activities Associations is proposing some radical rules for the coming school year.

As many know, MSHSAA's website is a valuable tool when it come to finding information about rules and playoff formats. It also contains a section for scores to be recorded for games.

To obtain these scores, the site requires coaches to input the results. Some do, others do not.

I have more than once felt the frustration of researching a team's record or history, only to be stymied by an empty page that has no scores reported, or worse yet, the full schedule has not been uploaded.

Last week, MSHSAA officials held their annual media advisory meeting. The lack of scores and schedules was a major talking point due to the frustration of information not being available or inaccurate.

MSHSAA, after 90 minutes of heated discussion, will be recommending to its member schools that the posting of scores and schedules be mandatory.

According to the recommendation, coaches and schools must have scores posted and updated by the 1st and 15th day of each month.

Upon the first violation, MSHSAA will send a warning email to the coach, principal, athletic director and superintendent. A second violation will result in an email and $50 fine, and a third violation will cause the offending coach to be suspended for one playoff game.

While some may see this as a trivial matter, to those seeking information, it is imperative to answer the sports junkie's question of who won something like the Monett-Cassville football game.

I support the rules proposed by MSHSAA.

I've had calls and emails to coaches go unreturned when I was seeking scores. I've fielded complaints from parents for not reporting scores of games.

The MSHSAA website is a tool that, if used properly, would have saved me in those situations.

For now, the rules, in my opinion, are a step in the right direction.

Jared Lankford is the sports editor of the Cassville Democrat. He can be reached at sports@cassville-democrat.com, or 417-847-2610.

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