March Madness is in full effect, and people around the world are hoping their favorite NCAA teams make it to the Final Four in Houston. If you are lucky (or rich) enough to score tickets to the Big Dance, then you may have a shot at documenting the action on the hardwood with your own camera.
The NCAA allows still photos to be taken during its games, but not video, unless you have proper media credentials. However, this liberal rule is not applied at every sporting venue. Teams and stadiums have the right to impose restrictions on photography to accommodate privacy concerns and players’ rights.
While there are no broad sweeping rules, the following provides some tips on how much access you will have should you decide to photograph a sporting event:
Policies for pro sports generally vary by organization; however, the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and Major League Baseball impose several restrictions on photographing games in pro venues. The leagues prohibit professional photography without pre-approved written consent. Shooters with press clearance are allowed to take photos from the sidelines, but cannot obstruct the audience’s view of the game.
Colleges and universities utilize a pro photography policy similar to those of major league organizations. The NCAA defines the base rules for photographing athletes; however, schools can amend the policy to ensure the privacy and security of their students. In most cases, spectators are allowed to photograph games, but cannot do so with professional equipment, such as pricey DSLR cameras with huge lenses, unless a media credential is obtained.
In most cases fans are allowed to get near the sidelines to take photos without prior written consent. However, if you plan to publish a photo of a student that you snapped during a game, you will need to obtain parental consent.