In 2012, I notified every NCAA Division I president and chancellor of my concerns regarding the potential for artificially generated stampedes. Out of those 119 individuals, only one of them responded not once, not twice but on three distinct occasions. This indicates more than a high degree of courtesy and professionalism. I believe it to be a safe assumption that former President Gordon Gee of The Ohio State University viewed my concerns as credible.
A 2012 article in The Lantern, Ohio State’s widely circulated newsletter, outlines some of my wider concerns. It details a move toward increasing cell phone coverage at Ohio Stadium. OSU is not the only major university moving in this direction.
And don’t forget that Commissioner Roger Goodell has made this a matter of policy for every stadium in the National Football League.
Police Chief Michael Cureton oversees security for the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, the second largest college venue in the state of Ohio. He echoes my broader concerns in this letter.
I’m sure that both Gordon Gee and Michael Cureton would agree with following statement: that under no conceivable circumstance would any responsible party ever launch an emergency evacuation by notifying fans directly and/or exclusively through their cellular devices.
This begs the obvious question… what would transpire if someone with a nefarious agenda decided to set in motion their own evacuation(s)?
If questioned about the potential for human stampedes, I imagine that you might hear about a somewhat archaic system that alerts those in charge of security to immediately allow fans access to the field. Although this represents a step in the right direction, it does not adequately address the underlying problem presented by the artificially generated stampede itself. It’s merely an attempt to lessen the severity of a potential calamity. Mitigation is not a solution.
The state of Ohio boasts an unusually large concentration of NCAA Division I football stadiums.
Dix Stadium, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Doyt Perry Stadium, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
Glass Bowl, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
Peden Stadium, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Yager Stadium, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Summa Field at InfoCision Stadium, University of Akron, Akron, OH
But none of these venues are comparable to the awesome size of Ohio Stadium.
Ranked in the top 5 of all college football stadiums, The Horseshoe broke its previously established attendance record in an October 6, 2012 meeting against the University of Nebraska (106,102).
Other university leadership ultimately accountable for providing a safe game day experience also acknowledged my concerns. I received an additional 6 responses which reflect oversight on behalf of some of the largest college football stadiums.
President Rodney Erickson, Penn State, Beaver Stadium (106,572)
President C.L. Max Nikias, University of Southern California, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (94,392)
President Mike Adams, University of Georgia, Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Chancellor Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska, Memorial Stadium (92,000)
President Jay Barker (2), Clemson University, Frank Howard Field at Memorial Stadium (81,500).