Assessing University Responses to Public Records Requests about Stadium Playing Space Access Policies

Brian E. Menaker – Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Jeffrey F. Levine – Drexel University
R. Dale Sheptak, Jr. – Baldwin Wallace University
Kamry R. Barton – Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Communicating public safety policies is an integral component of spectator sport risk management planning. University sporting events, particularly NCAA FBS college football, attract large crowds to their stadiums and require policies to keep unauthorized playing surface entries from occurring including mass field invasions when fans rush the field in celebration. Communicating these policies can be an integral part of the risk communication process and the existence of these policies are important decisions for university administrations and athletic departments. This study assesses official public records requests to FBS institutions subject to public records laws, regarding their willingness to disclose football stadium field invasion policies. A majority of respondents shared their policies, and a minority had mass invasion policies. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) standing, membership in a conference with institutional fines, and football team ranking were non-significant influencers of all measures of policy communication, while likelihood of sharing a policy in general and a mass invasion policy slightly decreased, as stadium capacity increased. This study shows that structural factors like stadium attributes may have more influence on policy communication than policy factors, meriting additional research exploration.