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Andyz - the shadows are just the result of the flash whether they're high or low, you'll always get the shadows.
I shoot for an outfit that covers high school sports and there was no need to contact the school. All the schools in my area know this outfit and we are always welcome to shoot the games, be it basketball, football, volleyball...etc. I'm not saying that just because I shoot for this outfit that everything is okay. I've been shooting for them for seven years now and I know the majority of the officials, ad's and coaches in my area and what equipment I can use when taking pics. I've also talked to them beforehand as to what is allowed in the gyms and on the field.
Insurance is a must when you are taking pics where injury could happen anytime, anywhere. Take for example, a daytime football game(no flash equipment involved). If you are shooting from the sideline and the play comes towards you and the player runs into you and injures himself where he cannot play the rest of the season or his career is over, guess what is going to happen.