Athletic Facility Management Facility Liability Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

259). These authors assert that crowd management and crowd control constitute two additional vital issues that athletic facility management needs to address when hosting events at any stadium or venue.

Event managers also need to understand the type of event(s) they host and understand that variuos events draw different types of crowds, as no two crowds are alike and each crowd typically behaves in different manners. Abbott and Geddie (2001) warn: "Crowds can behave violently, resulting in destruction of property, personal injury, and, in extreme cases, death. Crowd management plans should be adjusted to meet the needs of the event and the potential crowd" (p. 260). Event managers need to prepare for the unexpected that might occur. They need to also realize that football game may require more security officers than a golf game.

Event managers also need to be aware of the surrounding location of the stadium or venue. Stadiums located in high crime areas, for example, may require additional security and require that management take appropriate steps to protect the crowd from outside dangers. Abbott and Geddie (2001) report regarding Roth v. Costa (1995) that this case reveals a number of crowd management problems "as they pertain to the issues surrounding the absence of adequate security. In addition, this case links crowd management to the legal issues of criminal negligence" (Abbott & Geddie, 2001, p. 262). The plaintiff, in this particular instance, sued for failure to protect from criminal attack. Because the defendant was proven to be negligent for not hiring and training enough security guards to patrol the parking lot, the court determined the facility owner did not exercise reasonable care to protect the plaintiff from foreseeable injury -- which in this particular case constituted a criminal attack (Abbott & Geddie).

In addition to examining considerations regarding failure to protect, Abbott and Geddie conclude that because crowd management and crowd control do interrelate, management needs to ensure it positions a well-conceived crowd management in place to ultimately eliminate the need for extensive crowd control. For event managers and athletic facility management "to limit their liability, to preserve their financial stability, and to secure the success of the event, they must focus on both crowd management and crowd control" (Abbott & Geddie, p. 269). Implementing positive strategies and practices in the area of crowd management may not only help protect managers and employees, but help ensure the safety of the invitees, as well.

Dr. Richard P. Borkowski, EdD, (2006), a sport safety consultant, points out in the article, "When good facility go bad," that the space that exists between an activity and a wall to act as a buffer zone when athletes at times leave the playing area at high rates of speed. As the buffer zone decreases the chance of injury Borkowski (2006) stresses that even when the facility is crowded, the buffer zone space should not be utilized for any other purpose. Borkowsk also warns managers of facilities not to squeeze a scorer's table "between the end line of a basketball court and the wall, don't run a drill between the football sideline and the bleachers, and don't ask your athletic trainer to examine athletes in an active corner of the wrestling room" (Borkowski, 2006, ¶ 2). Even though management may think they need to utilize spaces designated for specific purposes into places to accommodate crowds, the practice, along with overcrowding, may turn appropriate facilities into inappropriate facilities. Using a designated space for the purpose for which it is designated serves as yet another way for athletic facility management to limit liability.


Abbott, J. & Geddie, M.W. (2001). Event and venue management: Minimizing liability through effective crowd management techniques. Event Management. Cognizant Comm. Corp.

Vol. 6, pp. 259 -- 270. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from

Borkowski, R.P. (2006). When good facility go bad. Athletic Management. Retrieved July 12,

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In the court of appeals twelfth court of appeals district Tyler, Texas. (2005). Case NO. 12-07

00085-CV. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from

Maloy, B.P. (1993). Legal obligations related to facilities. JOPERD -- The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 64(2), 28+. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from Questia database:

Thompson, D.C., Crampton, F.E & Wood, C.W. (2008). Money…

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