Guidelines for Sports Still and Video Photography Approvals

Washington University encourages photographic coverage of sports events by news media. We welcome students, faculty, staff, and their families to attend and photograph athletic events in our varsity, intramural and club programs — with the understanding that the images are intended for personal use only and not for any commercial use or general distribution.

Still and video photography from any area other than spectator seating requires a University-issued Sports Photo Pass. Generally such passes are issued only to news photographers and videographers who are insured by their employers against physical injury and other hazards, and who are equipped to take pictures without an on-camera flash. NCAA rules prohibit the use of on-camera flash in many types of varsity athletic events, particularly indoor sports.

The Sports Photo Pass is also required if spectators plan to do still and video photography with professional-quality equipment from the spectator area, due to potential disruption and visual obstruction to other spectators. Point-and-shoot cameras and small video cameras usually do not require a pass when used in the spectators seating area, although flash and video lights are not allowed by NCAA rules from spectator areas in many sports events, regardless of location.

Sports Photo Pass requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will generally require an official request submitted on the employer’s letterhead. Issued on an event-by-event basis, passes may be revoked at any time by the University.

As a general rule, free-lance, commercial, and non-University amateur photography is not permitted at athletic events. On the rare occasion when free-lance and professional still or video photography is permitted at an athletic event, the requestor must conform to the policies required for use of the University and its facilities for entertainment and commercial purposes as described at:

Requests for a Sports Photo Pass must be submitted at least one day prior to the athletic event with the Sports Information Director at 314-935-5077 or by emailing

The University reserves the right to place further restrictions on access to athletic facilities and events when necessary to protect the safety and security of the University community.

The Sports Photo Pass was instituted in Fall 2007.