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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

NCAA Strobe Rules?
Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 8:29 PM on 01.10.17
->> Does anyone have a link or a copy of the NCAA rules governing the use of strobes in arenas?

A friend who is an athletic dept. photographer has been tossed from a couple of games recently by referees that cited "safety concerns" because of the strobes.

I know that strobes are not used as much for college (and pro) sports these days. But there are still some entities that appreciate the image quality that strobes can produce.

I have a copy of the rules about strobes during the NCAA Tournament and Final Four, but they are not specific or technical.

The only way to deal with referees is show them they're wrong by giving them the actual NCAA rule.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 10:16 PM on 01.10.17
->> For the most part there are no rules. Each sport has their own specific rule book. I believe the only two that address strobes are volleyball and swimming/diving (diving specifically).

What sport are you referring to? I shoot strobes in a number of buildings for almost all of the indoor sports. Definitely use them for NCAA DI basketball, volleyball, wresting and swimming.
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 12:14 AM on 01.11.17
->> I'd think that communicating before the event with the AD, SID, coach and officials would smooth things over. If the house doesn't have a problem, the officials should roll with it.
Unless of course the officials are determined to play the jackass card, which the NCAA seems to revel in.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 1:16 AM on 01.11.17
->> Most NCAA rule books don't give the officials jurisdiction on things like strobes. Thus the reason I ask which sport he was having problems with.

In volleyball for instance, strobes are legal and college officials have no say on the subject.
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 8:20 AM on 01.11.17
->> "The only way to deal with referees is show them they're wrong by giving them the actual NCAA rule."

Not sure this is a good idea. The AD/SID should be the only one to present the information to the officials prior to the game. Every discussion I have ever seen between a photographer and a referee .... the photographer looses every time. If it gets heated ... you may be shooting the game from the parking lot.

Personally, I think clearing a path with the AD/SID prior to the event is the best way to handle it. They have immediate access to resources that a photographer does not have (or is at least limited to).

FWIW My Policy... when the horn sounds the officials (refs) are in charge. They tell me to do something ... I do it. If I have a beef, I take it up with the AD the following day. You may loose the battle but will most likely win the war.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 12:41 PM on 01.11.17
->> Robert, et al...

I did a simple Google search on "ncaa strobe rules" and up popped the organization's stance -- strobes can be used at an event at the discretion of the NCAA or host media coordinator. There is no differentiation between games being regular season or championship, or which games can be strobed and which can't such as basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, indoor track/field, wrestling, etc.

Here's the link to the NCCA's website:
http://www.ncaa.com/content/strobe-lights

Once the host SID gives his/her okay that should be it despite what the refs and/or opposing team say.
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Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 12:59 PM on 01.11.17
->> Tim,

You can use strobes during Volleyball. Its not legal! The lights must be hang from the catwalk. I was on the NCAA rules committee. I've been shooting with strobes for over 20 years.
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 3:21 PM on 01.11.17
->> Matt -

I'm not sure what you are saying. You state you can use them in first sentence, then second sentence you state "Its not legal" - clarify if you have a chance. We may be saying the same thing.

I probably understand volleyball rules as well as anyone. Perhaps we are on the same page. Coached DI for 20+ years and served on NCAA rules committee writing rules for a number of years (also on NAGWS rules committee before NCAA took rules in house).

The rule states -

1.4.5.2 Strobe lights are allowed. Courtside flash photography is prohibited within 2 meters (6 feet, 6 inches) of the court. Flash photography outside the 2-meter area is allowed unless it presents a safety hazard.

In fact PAVO (college officials organization) tells officials they are not to deal with strobes and if there is any issue, that it is strictly a game management issue and nothing to do with officials.

The biggest issue is the confusion between "flash photography" and "strobes". For the next printing of the rule book, hoping to separate and clarify the two. Flash photography is typically considered the on camera flash, while strobes would be your typical arena strobes. You and I can throw around the words strobes and flash around and understand the difference. An official sees something go off and doesn't understand the difference.
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Michael Chen, Photographer, Assistant
Saratoga | CA | USA | Posted: 7:56 PM on 01.11.17
->> I've only had to discontinue strobe use once, and that was during a volleyball tournament where one of the visiting athletes was diagnosed with epilepsy. We decided better to be safe than sorry.

The hosting school's SID had someone watching the athlete the whole time, and as soon she left the building for good we were given the okay to resume strobe usage.

What was strange was that the visiting team's SID apparently was unaware of this athlete's medical issue; someone else on the team brought it up directly to the hosting school.

Also, we were collectively scratching our heads a little, because I don't think they'd suspend strobe use at an NBA game because a spectator has epilepsy...
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Tim Cowie, Photographer, Photo Editor
Davidson | NC | USA | Posted: 9:33 PM on 01.11.17
->> I believe for it to cause a seizure the strobes would have to fire about 6-7 times per second. As mentioned earlier, following game management instructions and not arguing the issue is always the way to go.

Most problems related to using strobes is from lack of knowledge by others. I guess that's why we have all gone out and got a D5!
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Walt Middleton, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 6:41 PM on 01.12.17
->> Tim is right.
There is no set definition from the NCAA.
The only mention from them pertains to Basketball and that passage is older than I am.
Each sport has it's own rules. And with that, each facility has it's own rules as well. It always helps when you have an SID or AD on your side to help make sure things go the way they should.
It always gets fun at the NCAA Championships due to the committees. Rules become very arbitrary.
But, here is a quick run down of what it typically is.

Strobe

Basketball
Volleyball
Swimming
Wrestling
Water Polo
Ice Hockey
Indoor T&F (With some restrictions)
Synchro Swimming

No Strobe

Football
Diving
Rifle
Pistol
Gymnastics
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Matt Brown, Photographer
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 12:06 PM on 01.13.17
->> Tim,
Sorry for the misspelling. Its not illegal to use strobes during volleyball.
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Rick Yeatts, Photographer
Dallas | TX | USA | Posted: 3:37 PM on 01.21.17
->> I've been using strobes in college hoops since 97 and with no questions or comments. I also use them in conference championship games but not beyond. I do get a lot of flack when mounting remote cameras.
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Tom Ewart, Photographer
Bentonville | AR | USA | Posted: 8:37 PM on 01.23.17
->> I think the NCAA Photo Rules Robert is refering to is the rules Porter Binks wrote that SI had posted on the SIPhoto.com Site for years. It dealt with Defining the duration and amount of wattage...It was written to appease TV back when TV camera had Tubes in them... It limited the number of sets to 4. Mostly only enforced for NCAA Final 4 Div 1 Men's Basketball, but many conf. have taken those rules and adopted them as their own with our knowing really why they were written. Things have changed. Also for a strobe to trigger seizures they need to be in the range of 60 Hertz...or 60 flashes a second like a TV recycle rate or a Florecent light going bad (or red eye reduction stunner flashes on point and shoot cameras).
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Thread Title: NCAA Strobe Rules?
Thread Started By: Robert Hanashiro
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