The second game of the season for the Miami Hurricanes brought about a lot of change and the majority was not with the team itself. While the University of Miami was getting ready for the Florida Atlantic Owls on the field, the photographers were in the media room listening about all the new rule changes the University and the Hard Rock Stadium security wanted to implement. It seems the photographers had to suffer the consequences due to other’s not doing their job properly. While the football team battled FAU on the field, the photographers had to battle off the field.
When I arrived at the stadium, the photographers were greeted with signs plastered all over the media room about a mandatory meeting. Seeing how I noticed there were some issues the first game, I figured those were the ones that the University needed to talk about. Whenever someone says, “We’re not trying to limit your access etc.” they really are. We were informed that we are no longer allowed on the field when the team runs through the smoke and that we have to be in the opposite corner of the field when they do run out. It gets better. For the Canes Walk, when the team first arrives to the stadium, we are now designated to two “pens” located in the beginning and the end of the Canes Walk. I felt like a caged animal in a slaughter house. No room to move and packed in with other animals.
All these changes stemmed from incidents in the first week. Some photographers were on the field too early for the team to run out and others were not in the proper locations. Benches are off limits but there were some photographers who were in there etc. I saw it, but I’m not in a position to tell people where they can or can’t go. The University staff that does handle that is very blase when it comes to that. In reality all the photographers have to suffer due to a few new people not knowing the rules. The rules which we had to listen to being recited to us on the 2nd game should have in theory been explained in game 1 and these issues would have been avoided. As a wire service photographer told me, “The Hurricanes should be lucky we have someone to cover their games and it’s with these new rules, he wasn’t going out of his way to make the Hurricanes look good for media”.
The biggest issue at Hard Rock Stadium is not the photographers but their “security” they hire, Elite Services. These people are a joke. For the 2nd week in a row we had a photographer come into the stadium with no credentials and got past security. They told security they were a media member and they were let right in. Even during the game, Elite Services are a pain to deal with. The people they hire at minimum wage really don’t care. They don’t care if they walk in front of you while you shoot and they don’t care about enforcing the rules. I wouldn’t be surprised if the workers they have are just there to basically watch the game for free.
The game itself was pretty unspectacular. The Hurricanes struggled in the first half against FAU. Brad Kaaya was off as well as most of the offense. In the 2nd half it was a different story. The Hurricanes relied on their running game and they really broke away from FAU in the 2nd half. Mark Walton, Hurricanes running back, is an absolute beast.
Photography wise I had some great opportunities to grab some great shots. Bad news was that the majority of these shots had the backside of some referee in them. It’s an occupational hazard being a sports photographer. There will be plenty of times a referee will find their way into your shot.
The other issue we had to deal with was unexpected rain that fell from the 3rd quarter into the 4th. I was in the endzone and I felt something hit me and I looked up expecting a drunk fan’s beer cup to be swerving above me, but I was sadly mistaken. Just an amazing display of rain followed. You have never seen photographers as fast until you see rain falling on their unprotected gear. I took shelter in a tunnel, but some weren’t so lucky.
Once the rain subsided I headed back to the field where everything was waterlogged. I couldn’t kneel or sit down without getting soaked. While this wasn’t the prettiest of games for the Miami Hurricanes against the FAU Owls, a win is a win. I can’t wait for October 8th when the Florida State Seminoles come to town. The biggest rivalry game in Florida comes back to the Hard Rock Stadium and I can’t wait.
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