Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200, You’re Fired!
This post is not specific to college sports, but is is a MUST READ for anyone heading into any segment of the sport industry.
In event management, there are certain things that are non-negotiable.Two of those things, in my opinion and the opinion of many of my peers, are waivers and medical coverage. If an event manager doesn’t get waivers signed or allows someone to participate without signing a waiver–do not pass go, do not collect $200, immediate termination. We live in a litigious society. Not mandating that participants sign waivers is probably one of the single stupidest things that an event manager could do. The other immediately terminable offense is not having any or not having enough medical coverage.
I was at an event a couple of weeks ago. It was run by sports administration students in conjunction with the athletic department. On that day, it was 90 degrees for the first time in nearly eight months. As part of their event they had a 5K run and a hot dog eating contest. There was zero medical coverage on site, just a police officer on a bicycle. When one of the students who had worked in event management brought up her concern that there was no medical coverage, all but two of her fellow students acted as if she was being overly cautious. When I asked one of the students about it, he told me that the athletic department had told them they didn’t need medical coverage on site. The students decided that because some of the other students were CPR certified, that was enough. That opens up a whole other bag of issues of now putting those students in a position of being first responders, not to mention the fact that medical wasn’t their primary responsibility that day. They could have been anywhere performing other duties.
That same weekend, the weather was similar in New York City. New York Road Runners always has medical coverage on site. Even with that, they opted to cancel the More Marathon and to turn the More Half Marathon into a fun run (un-timed, un-scored). Even with runners coming in from various cities across the country, they realized that for safety purposes, it was not a good idea to have the race in those conditions, regardless of the backlash. Safety came first.
In a situation like this, the students should have gone to their program coordinator to let them know. (First and foremost, though, they should have realized that this was an issue, which they didn’t.) Their program’s name was on this event and they were responsible to make sure it was managed appropriately. The most important thing in managing any event is to make sure that the participants and spectators are safe. Fortunately, nothing happened, but that’s a hell of a risk to take when dealing with people’s health and safety.