The National Transportation Safety Board today welcomed actions taken by collegiate associations in response to a recommendation aimed at improving the safety of student athletic team transportation.
The recommendation, issued to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the American Council on Education (ACE), and the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), was the result of the NTSB's investigation of the crash of an airplane transporting members of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) basketball team on January 27, 2001.
The accident airplane, one of three carrying OSU team members and associated personnel, was en route to Stillwater OK, following a game at the University of Colorado at Boulder earlier in the day. There were no survivors among the two crewmembers and eight passengers on board.
The NTSB recommendation called on the associations to review athletic team travel policies and develop a model transportation policy that could be implemented by member schools.
In response, NCAA and ACE asked the assistance of United Educators (UE) Insurance to prepare a document with recommended guidelines and sample policies on student travel. United Educators is a leading provider of insurance to colleges and universities and has worked for many years to develop risk avoidance policies for them. The resulting 64-page guidance manual, titled Safety in Student Transportation: A Resource Guide for Colleges and Universities, was released in June.
ACE has distributed the report to 1,200 presidents of colleges and universities. NCAA has distributed 6,000 copies of this report to officials such as presidents, athletics directors, senior woman athletics administrators, business managers and risk managers at universities throughout the country, and urged adoption of the policies contained in the guide. UE distributed 2,000 copies to its 800 member schools. Both NCAA and UE have electronic copies of the guide available for downloading from their Internet websites.
NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker praised the comprehensive nature of the guide and ACE's and NCAA's extensive efforts to inform college and university communities and prompt them to act. "This valuable guide holds great promise," said Rosenker. "College students and athletes will be safer now, if school officials follow the lead of ACE and NCAA and implement the recommended policies. "We will have gone a long way toward making something good come out of a tragic accident."
Rosenker said that the NTSB had classified the safety recommendation (A-03-1) "Closed-Exceeds Recommended Action." He noted that safety recommendations are rarely given this classification - a rating that recognizes actions taken to improve transportation safety that are above and beyond what the Board envisioned when the recommendation was issued. Rosenker expressed the appreciation of all NTSB Members for the admirable work by the NCAA, ACE, and United Educators.