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Fast Break - March 2007

Sudden Death; Storm Defense

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March 2007
Fast News
Sudden Death When a charter bus carrying the Bluffton (Ohio) University baseball team to a series of games in Florida plunged off an overpass near Atlanta just before dawn on March 2, it sent shockwaves nationwide. The bus driver, his wife and five students were killed. Dozens of others student-athletes were injured, some critically. The university's web site shut down in the aftermath, and school-sponsored spring break trips were cancelled. "This is a sad tragedy for the students, families, friends and Bluffton University campus community," university president James M. Harder stated on the school's makeshift homepage, which featured a file photo of the Bluffton baseball team kneeling on a field in prayer. "We are asking for prayers of support during this time."

AB examined how institutions deal with the sudden death of student-athletes in May 2002. An excerpt from "Mourning Practices" follows:

Dave Yukelson, one of only a handful of sports psychologists in the country employed full-time by a college athletic department, approached Penn State administrators in 1995 about putting in place a policy to manage death's aftereffects. Little did Yukelson know that his campus would be tested twice within the span of two weeks this past February. First, sophomore golfer Michael Carter was killed in a car accident Feb. 13, nine days shy of his 20th birthday. Sophomore pole-vaulter Kevin Dare died in competition 10 days later. The combination proved staggering. "If there was a beauty in all of this, it was to see our student-athletes reach out to one another," Yukelson says. "When the second death occurred, the golf team was already at a different stage of working through it. All of a sudden, they became peer helpers."
To read the entire article, go to "Dealing and Wheeling" (August 2001), or search the AB article archive.

Storm Defense Last month, the Southeastern Conference fined Vanderbilt University $25,000 for allowing basketball fans to rush its home floor after the Commodores upset top-ranked Florida. It was the second time in three years that the SEC had punished Vanderbilt for a post-game rush. The school was fined $5,000 for its first offense - following a second-round victory over Wichita State in the 2005 National Invitation Tournament.

AB examined the perils of post-game court rushes last April. An excerpt from "Storm Fronts" follows:

How does one convince would-be court rushers to show restraint? Talk to them, says Nina Simmons, assistant director and events services manager of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Halton Arena/Barnhardt Student Activity Center. Simmons, who has written on the topic for the International Association of Assembly Managers, has seen several communication approaches prove effective. Some schools host preseason pizza parties, during which safety videos are shown. Others allow students early entry to the facility, then conduct pregame safety briefings.

For her part, Simmons first reads signals that a court rush may be imminent - a bitter rival comes to town or particularly long lines form at the ticket office - and staffs up accordingly. Then Simmons gauges the vibe created by the game itself (nail-biters, not blowouts, represent greater potential powder kegs) and takes to the stands during late timeouts, reasoning with all students within earshot to exhibit patience and order during their descent to the floor. "We walk right in front of them and say, 'Listen, guys. Here's the rule. Here's the plan.' It works," Simmons says. "They're much more cooperative than they were before we started this. We try to speak to them like we would like to be spoken to."

To view the entire article, search the article archive at athleticbusiness.com using the key words "storm fronts."
In the Field
Company News
  • Terraplas plc (Castle Donington, U.K.) and Terraplas North America (Texas) reached an agreement with Covermaster Inc. (Toronto) to form an alliance to market Terraplas turf and ice surface protection systems in North, Central and South America.
  • The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics signed a multi-year corporate partnership alliance with Ticketmaster, now the official ticketing, development and marketing supplier to the nation's athletics directors.
  • Power Systems Inc. (Knoxville, Tenn.) has created the Total Training Seminars, personal and sports performance training workshops designed for trainers, coaches, physical therapists and other wellness professionals.
  • Les Mills International launched a new web site, lesmills.com, to support the community of Les Mills group exercise-to-music program trainers, instructors and participants.
  • The National Women's Football Association (NWFA) has announced the formation of an AA division to help new expansion teams prepare to join the major NWFA league.
  • The New Balance Foundation donated $100,000 to support four high schools enrolled in Play It Smart, the National Football Foundation's highly successful mentoring program that works to change the lives of at-risk student-athletes.
  • World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) and the International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced a four-year agreement to provide global coverage of FINA events to U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands fans via WCSN's broadband and television outlets.
  • Stanmar Inc. (Wayland, Mass.) announced the addition of Jim Loud, a LEED Accredited Professional, as vice president. With Loud's arrival, Art Bodwell has been promoted to executive vice president.

Want to see your name in lights? Send press releases and news to our Web Editor for consideration: webeditor@athleticbusiness.com

It's Show Time
New Fitness Management Seminar Track Fitness Management magazine will hold a series of fitness seminars in conjunction with the Athletic Business Conference & Expo, Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 2007, in Orlando. The all-new seminar track - included as part of your ABC registration - will feature seminars on innovative programming ideas, member retention strategies, new fee-based programs, risk management updates... and more! The magazine's Nova7 Awards Reception also will be held at the conference on Friday, Nov. 30.

Cost is just $395 for the first person, $340 per person for the second and third person from the same organization, and $160 per person for each additional person (4th and beyond) from the same organization - inexpensive when compared to many other conferences.

Fast Job
The Hartford Civic Center, Connecticut's largest indoor premier sports and entertainment venue, is seeking a director of facility services to be responsible for building operations and maintenance, event production, security and all aspects of operating the facility.
Don't Miss This
In our next issue: From sushi rolls to salad wraps, upscale food offerings are diversifying concessions menus and influencing margins.

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Did You Miss This?
In our current issue: The March issue examines how groundskeepers deliver lush playing surfaces while ensuring that their irrigation practices meet peak efficiency.

Read The Pressure's On.

And the Survey Said
Variety is the spice of life - and the key to healthier lifestyles. In response to last month's Quick Question, the majority of you agree that making a combination of services and resources accessible to your community will encourage members to embrace healthier lifestyles.

Complete Results: Would members of your community be most likely to embrace healthier lifestyles if they had immediate access to:

  • Around-the-clock medical/wellness professional services (including at-home visits)? 2%
  • Fitness facilities and personal training services within walking distance of their homes? 15%
  • Home delivery of meals designed in accordance with personalized nutrition plans? 3%
  • Greenspaces and trails to nearby shopping, schools and workplaces, thereby discouraging automobile use? 16%
  • A combination of the aforementioned resources? 64%
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