A Special Message Regarding Safety Concerns for Media Parking

From CFP, FWAA, CoSIDA and USBWA

On behalf of the FWAA, CFP, CoSIDA and the USBWA, we are writing to make you aware of growing concerns related to media parking locations for football and basketball events and how their placements pose potential safety risks for credentialed media representatives in a working capacity and having to exit facilities during late night hours.

While distance and darkness can pose safety problems for anyone, this is of particular concern for the growing number of female reporters who are departing football press boxes or basketball arenas in late night hours.

Several examples around the country this year have been registered where female reporters have felt unsafe or threatened due to the combination of darkness and distance while returning to cars that are parked in deserted lots.

And, without question, there is a growing proliferation of prime-time games for television that have driven the ending of games and post-game writing duties into the wee hours of the morning.

As a result, we encourage you to review your parking locations and policies as it relates to media lot assignments.   We recognize that the demands for priority parking are difficult for schools and we are not suggesting wholesale changes.   But, we are providing you with suggested plans that will emphasize safety and potentially help avoid putting people in a working capacity – both writers and press box staff/volunteers – who are attending events you host in perceived dangerous situations.

Recommended Media Parking Guidelines

  • For distances longer than one-quarter of a mile, a golf-cart shuttle could be made available 2-3 hours before the game to help reporters move from the media lot to the sports venue. The pre-game shuttle would help address concerns for individuals where age, health, gender and the amount of equipment create concerns while moving from media lots that don’t offer easy access.
  • A golf cart and/or walking escort or campus security representative could be made available after games upon request to ensure media representatives covering a late night event have coverage while returning to the media lot and their car.
  • Provide a text service for reporters needing help either in going to the stadium or returning to the media lot. (The College Football Playoff is in the process of developing this approach along with Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, for the national championship game).
  • Media should be provided a detailed description of the location and distance from venue of all parking areas, along with shuttle availability before or after the game, in advance as part of the credential process.  This information should also be available on game day in the press box and other appropriate areas.

Thanks for your attention and consideration to this concern!

Steve Richardson (FWAA) * Gina Lehe (CFP) * Doug Vance (CoSIDA) * Joe Mitch (USBWA)

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