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Got the "strobe smackdown" tonight
Matt Cashore, Photographer
South Bend | IN | USA | Posted: 10:40 PM on 02.03.10
->> Shooting D3 women's hoops. Ref said "No Strobes...It's against the rules." I have strobed nearly every basketball game I've ever shot for the last 17 years--High School, D1, D2, D3, NCAA tourney. First time this has ever happened.

I complied under severe but respectful protest. I understand and respect the fact that the officials have broad discretion--but don't quote me a non-existent rule! I asked to see the rule book (hey, maybe D3 has a different rule book I didn't know about?) and the officials showed me the general NCAA basketball rule book. I asked to see the language prohibiting strobes but they couldn't show me anywhere in the book that even had the word "strobe" or "flash" printed.

Now, I'm not just ranting, I have an actual question. I know exactly where to find the rules regarding strobes in the NCAA Tournament guidelines (pp. 24-26, depending on which one you're looking at) but does anyone know where, if at all, the general NCAA rule book mentions strobes? Might or might not do any good...If I push it I might find all sorts of D3 refs suddenly "exercising authority".
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Daniel Putz, Photographer
Owings Mills | MD | USA | Posted: 11:07 PM on 02.03.10
->> Hrm, the D3 refs around here don't have problems with it (at least for hoops).
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Jeff Hinds, Photographer
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 12:28 AM on 02.04.10
->> There is no such rule as far as I know. I shoot D3, NWAACC, on strobes all the time with coaches approval.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 1:09 AM on 02.04.10
->> I have been officiating basketball for 13 years. There is no rule regarding strobes UNDER GAME OFFICIALS jurisdiction. Assuming there was, the procedure they are to follow is to notify the game administrator of the problem and let them deal with it. Anything outside the boundaries of the court except the player benches and the table is game administrator jurisdiction.

Moreover, there is no rule against strobes.

For the rest of you; next time a referee tells you to stop doing something that has nothing to do with baseline interference, game interference, etc..., don't engage them. If you disagree, ask "who is the game administrator". Don't argue, don't respond to anything except the answer to that question. Ignore anything they say except to tell you who the game administrator is. Usually that will be the home AD who is rarely there. Next on the pecking order is the Asst. AD who also is probably not there. The SID will probably be the GA, but if not he can tell you who is, so find the SID and go from there.

Next, (and do this EVERY time) make note of who the official was if you can find out. At least make note of his or her physical characteristics, and find all the official's names from the final stat sheet. Then, call the conference home office and ask to speak to the "men's/women's Supervisor of Officials" and let them know what happened. You do not need the school's permission, you will not jeopardize your relationship with the school; they will probably not even know about it. When you talk to this person, you are calling to "clarify a rule" concerning the incident so you will know what not to do next time. Don't go into a rant, be calm, but don't be afraid to let him or her know how you feel about it. You will learn something, and let the ref's boss about the situation.

Matt, you should call the conference home office and discuss it with the Sup. of Officials.
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Jack Arent, Photographer, Assistant
Alameda | CA | | Posted: 2:18 AM on 02.04.10
->> I shot a state championship volleyball game at the community college level a couple months ago using strobes. Before the game started I let one of the officials know I had lights set up. The official wanted me to test fire my set up so he can see if he would need to suspend me from using my lights, after a demonstration he said it was fine...

After the game I thanked the official, and one of the other officials in the group called out and said it was in the rules that strobes are allowed, I didn't verify it but it was great to hear.
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Randy Abrams, Photographer
Bath | NY | US | Posted: 8:01 AM on 02.04.10
->> Did the official see that you were using strobes/flash (like say them setup) or did they actually see the firing of the strobes and it caught their attention? One of the official's main job is to insure the safety of the players (I'm a coach, not an official so this take this as being from my perspective). If the official deems the flash to a possible deterrent to safe conditions (flash directly in the face of a player...which I do we don't do, just needed an example) then I think they can have some say. Phil's comments were great and I strongly suggest following up on that. Some game officials (doesn't matter the sport) are way to into the 'power' of being in control of a game and like to exert that power.

Kind of similar, I had a softball tournament a few years back where I shot 4 games in a row...I was in the exact same spot in each game. The umps for the first three games had no problem and even came over in between innings and talked. Then the last last of the 4, the plate ump decided that I was breaking rules and couldn't be there. I politely told that I've been in that same spot for the last 5 hours and he told me he didn't care! I Phil said, don't get into an argument just move on.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 10:38 AM on 02.04.10
->> Randy, if it was NCAA softball you were shooting, there is a designated area for shooters on the field. It should be chalked out before the game.
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Randy Abrams, Photographer
Bath | NY | US | Posted: 12:04 PM on 02.04.10
->> ->> Sam, this was actually a youth tournament. Although I did have a similar issue at a state high school softball tournament as well. Covered 7 games myself and a partner covered 5. Out of all of those I had one ump tell me I couldn't be where I was (I was shooting for MaxPreps and as the 'official' photographers we were suppose to be the only ones inside the fence area. I had one ump that said no...I explained who I was and that the state recognized as the official photographers and that we were to be allowed inside the fence. Didn't matter to him...).
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 12:12 PM on 02.04.10
->> imagine that. game officials making a bad call! I'm shocked I tell you! Shocked!! 8)
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Steve King, Photographer, Student/Intern
Ann Arbor | MI | USA | Posted: 8:50 PM on 02.04.10
->> Matt,
You did the right thing, period. I haven't had the strobes issue like this, but I did for access and location. I had the NCAA guidebook with me and the exact pages ready for review with the AD and officials, showing the layout and where we're allowed. While awaiting "official" review by the AD & SID I missed a couple of very nice plays, or so I said, and ended up being "allowed for now" to be where I was. I've even been on fields where chalk lines weren't laid, had refs complain about me being too close, showed the pages, paced off where I was standing, and was left alone. Keep up the good fight, you're not a GWC.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:13 PM on 02.05.10
->> Phil,
Your post is GOLDEN. This should be printed and saved.

One can never win a argument with a game official. They have complete control. But, by handling it in the manner that Phil describe, you can make it better for next time...

..and trust me, there will be a next time.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 7:29 AM on 02.07.10
->> Thanks, Michael.

Here's the thing about refs; at the D3 level and above, refs have worked hard and have many years officiating. 99% of them do not have egos and would not tell you not to do something if they did not believe it to be genuinely necessary.. Strobes in the ceiling is definitely OK, but on-camera flash, while not specifically addressed in the rule nook, falls under the category of "disconcerting the shooter", and mostly is asserted on foul shots. This is definitely a legit problem, but anything else needs to be dealt with as outlined above.

Officiating is more fun than you can possible imagine. Guys and gals who work D3 and up are critiqued and evaluated almost every game. They go to mandatory summer camps and look at video constantly. At the D1 level there is always a conference observer evaluating officials. There is huge money to be made; At last count it was $1,200 per game plus travel. NBA refs start at $250k per year and can go to $500k if they can take the schedule. Guys can do 3 or 4 games a week... do the math. They do NOT want to screw it up over some emotional nonsense. But when you call the Supervisor of Officials, that person can follow up and notify the offending ref to chill.

In basketball, respect the line for photographers along the baseline. Most do that anyway. At the D3 level that line is not always there. Be sure and ask if you are in the way, and you'll get the same consideration in return. If a ref is about to step on you, simply put your hand on his or her calf letting them know you are there. If a ball pops OOB in your lap, always give it to the ref, not the player. Wait for the ref to signal for the ball, which they might not do until they have sorted out what they are dealing with. They will let you know when they want the ball.

If you have a question about something, you can wait until a FULL TIME OUT ONLY. If he or she is following proper mecahnics, they will stand at the free-throw line facing the bench and wait for the first horn. At that point, raise your hand and shout very loudly, "Ref, I have a question". Most will respond, but don't be surprised if they don;t, and don't force the issue if they don't. Much is going on in his head during this time.
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Thread Title: Got the "strobe smackdown" tonight
Thread Started By: Matt Cashore
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