If you’re a coach, parent, or student involved with high school sports, you may know of a site called HighSchoolSports.net. It’s a service used by many schools, including the ones in my town, to manage information about teams and schedules. For the elmcity project it’s been a stalwart provider of iCalendar feeds, enabling me to show high school and middle school contests — soccer, football, lacrosse, swimming, etc. — on community-wide calendars in many cities.

Until recently.

One day I noticed a flood of errors from the HighSchoolSports.net feeds. USA Today, it turns out, had acquired HighSchoolSports.net. At first I hoped the errors were just a redirection snag. But when I visited the new site, at usatodayhss.com, I was shocked to see that the iCalendar feature had evidently been removed.

Could that really be true? I wrote to ask; here is the reply.

Thank you for contacting us regarding the iCal feature that was once located on HighSchoolSports.net

The iCal feature, for syncing to personal calendars, is no longer an available feature on USATodayhss.com

We will be launching a mobile version of USATodayhss.com in the very near future. With this mobile feature, you will be able to check schedules on the go with your smart phones or any available internet connective devices.

It was as if a million voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

USA Today, please reconsider. You are now the steward of data flows that matter to thousands of communities. The data is of a specific type. There is a longstanding standard Internet way to enable that specific type of data to syndicate not only to personal calendars but also to community calendars. A mobile app will be a nice addition. But it is not a replacement for standard data feeds that can syndicate into a variety of contexts.