What are the flashing lights at basketball games in Bramlage?

By Ned Seaton

Q: Several times during each basketball game I attend at K-State’s Bramlage Coliseum, the big lights at the top of the arena flash like a flash camera. How come?

A: It’s a secret plot that the Bob Huggins Mafia installed in the rafters to try to blind the eyes of players of the opposing team. Anytime a shooter from the opponent rises up, those strobes start blasting away.

Check the stats: Opposing teams’ shooting percentage is horrendous in Bramlage, so something must be working.

And you probably bought all that hooey about “defensive ball pressure” and “staying in the passing lanes,” and playing angry, and the Frank Martin Stare and all that, didn’tcha?


So, uhh, no. Not really.

Those are actually, in fact, flashes for cameras, just as your simile would suggest.

(Yes, go ahead and scramble for your English textbooks now.)

They’re controlled remotely by cameras used by photographers stationed along the baseline during the game. When the photographer pushes the shutter button, the flash goes off, just as if the flash was physically attached to the camera. The idea is to improve the photo by giving more light to the image, just as it is with regular flashes.

The reason they’re hung in the rafters is precisely to avoid getting in shooters’ eyes.

You can imagine how flashes at floor level could disrupt the game. (Come to think of it, maybe we could put all the photographers under KU’s basket during the annual game here, just this year. Call it the Wiggins Exemption, or something.)

Not all photographers use them. In fact, according to K-State’s sports information department, the only entities using the automatic flashes now include K-State itself and the Kansas City Star.

And K-State officials said the Star hadn’t used theirs for quite some time and planned to remove them.

Mercury staff photographer Sarah Midgorden said the flashes can improve color saturation of photos, but that there’s enough available light in Bramlage to shoot good photos without them.


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