Last week, we discussed how schools will benefit in the new FAA guidelines for drones. Drone regulation continues at the state level with the organization overseeing high school athletics adopting a new policy for drone use at high school athletic events.

At a recent New York State Public High School Athletic Association meeting, the Executive Committee adopted a policy which will apply to athletic contests for public high schools in the State.  The new policy is to be read consistent and compliant with applicable FAA regulations as discussed in prior Muniblog post on this subject; unmanned aircraft systems (drones) are prohibited for use at all NYSPHAA scrimmages, regular and post season contests.

NYPHSAA’s ban applies to aerial regions above and around fields of play, spectator areas, stadiums, arenas, gyms pools, practice facilities and other areas being used for interscholastic activities.  The new rule allows NYSPHSAA, through its executive director, to grant exceptions to the policy to law enforcement, public safety agencies, NYSPHSAA media partners and other entities.  Documentation will be required for any entity granted an exception and exceptions will be contest specific. The NYPHSAA policy seeks to ensure safety of public high school athletes and spectators and also provides a level of confidence regarding knowing who would be flying a drone over contests.

The rule is a helpful one which should allow more awareness of drone use at athletic contests.  Ensuring awareness and notice of the rule will be important since it is something challenging to identify and locate those using drones.   School districts considering adopting drone use policies should first consider the NYSPHSAA policy to determine if it adequately covers their needs. If not, analysis of the NYSPHSAA policy may be a good first step toward any effort at expansion.