Oklahoma Daily Tells Sooners Football: Stop the Sideline Photography Shenanigans

The Oklahoma Daily at Oklahoma University is pushing back against new restrictions imposed on sideline photographers working OU Sooners football games.

During a home game late last month, a Sooners wide receiver “flew out of the end zone and landed on a camera lens belonging to a Tulsa World photographer.” The result: a shattered lens, a slight athlete injury, a rant from head football coach Bob Stoops about the photogs’ presence and a new sideline photography policy the Daily is calling “a childish reaction to a rare accident.”

The gist of the updated policy: Student and professional photogs working the sidelines and end zone areas during OU football games may only bring equipment they can carry and “keep on their body at all times” — so no tripods and a severe limitation on extra cameras and lenses.

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In a recent staff editorial, the Daily summarized the significance of sideline photographers in capturing and sharing the indelible, iconic images that define a great sporting event — including many moments the TV cameras and fans in the stands may miss. The paper, in turn, declares the new restrictions facing them “unrealistic for media professionals.”

According to the Daily:

“Clearly whoever decided to update the sideline photography policy has never tried to photograph a football game. The lenses used to capture sporting events are huge and extremely heavy. By only permitting monopods attached to cameras, you’re effectively requiring photographers to hold up any camera not attached to their one stabling device with arm strength alone for indeterminate periods of time. Unless newspapers start recruiting extra-buff photographers, we’re pretty sure the photo quality from that shaky style of photography won’t be the best. … Sideline photographers bring multiple cameras and lenses for a reason — different equipment works better for different types of shots. We see OU’s updated sideline policy as a petulant response to an infrequent incident. We believe football personnel should handle football and leave the media policy up to media professionals.”

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