College Football Sidelines Need to Change

Maybe it’s me, but it seems every season the sidelines along the fields of college football are getting more crowded with people who don’t need to be there. College football sidelines are for the working professionals and team creatives not boosters taking cell phone selfies. The best sports content is all about access, but a lot of people who aren’t there working don’t need to be along the college football sidelines.

If you’re a sports photographer, you already dread fighting for space along the sidelines. Now imagine you continually have to fight for space for people who don’t belong there and I’m not even talking about the people with iPhones and a photographer’s vest. Well not yet anyways.

College football sidelines shouldn’t be for anyone who is not working the game. Period and that is a hill I will die on.

Non-media Media

Is that even a thing? What I mean by non-media media are the people who have media credentials but are there just to hang out and take cool looking selfies in the endzone after a touchdown. I know some people get credentials because they know so and so, but they don’t belong out there. Especially if they’re not there in a media capacity.

You can identify these non-media members by their ability to track down mascots for their TikTok videos. I get a lot of people want to be considered some influential social media influencer, but take your dances and duck lips back to the stands. You’re going to get run over one day and get seriously hurt. Bonus points if that happens during an IG live because you really can get the reach you wanted then.

Boosters and Alumni

I’m all for boosters and alumni along the sidelines. As long as it’s with the recruits during pregame. These boosters and alumni stand so close to the field blocking the photographers and videographers doing their job. And the wives are there drinking on the sidelines blocking space that creatives definitely need. It seems the bigger the game the bigger the booster and alumni crowd size.

Again some of these guys are so old that they can’t move quick enough for some 20 year old kid weighing 250 pounds barreling down at them for a tackle on the sideline. They need to be up in the suites not on the sidelines.

I don’t care how much money they give to the program. Give the pre-game passes and tell them to move it along.

Coaches and Players

But isn’t that where they belong? Well yes and no. They have their designated spots from the 30 yard line to 30 yard line. The issue is when they come down to the 15 and 20 yard line blocking people working so they can see the “game better.”

There was an incident this season where a backup QB who gives the signals was blocking photographers on the 20 yard line and the photographers shouted at him to move. He responded by saying he was working. The photographer said they were working and he was a backup on the bench and he needs to go back to the bench.

I won’t lie my cold, dead heart melted a bit when I heard that. And it’s true. Too often players and coaches think they have free access down the sidelines and they don’t. The problem is the referees don’t penalize them for being outside their box.

Police Escorts

My favorite. There is an absolute need for police escorts making sure fans don’t hurt fans when they’re coming into a stadium or leaving, but during a game they don’t need to be on the sidelines. There is local police and security on the sidelines, these escorts can wait in the tunnel.

This year was especially contentious for me with the police. I got into several shouting matches with these state troopers. They think because they have shiny shoes and a badge I’m going to keep quiet. I’m not the one.

There was a Georgia trooper who was literally a foot away from the field and I asked if he could move back because he was blocking the view for everyone who was behind the designated lines and he said he didn’t have to move because he is police. I politely said, “Who are you policing if you’re watching the game?” and then we both had a spirited discussion where I lobbed a few F bombs at him.

There was another game where there were over 9 Florida Troopers on the sidelines. Guess what they were doing, gossiping like school girls with each other. I again asked one to move back from the field and he said, “He could stand where he wants because he is the police.” I said, “I asked politely and wasn’t an asshole like you. We’re trying to work and make money and you’re here blocking us so you can say you were on the sidelines.” When he saw others looking at him he moved back and said, “I’ll do it this once. I’m here to do a job.” I said, “Your job is to protect and serve not cheer on the literal sideline.”

Do I go looking for trouble? No, but it finds me.

Do I have faith that the college football sidelines will get cleaned up? Not really, but hey I’ve been wrong before. Just ask my wife!

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