University of Maryland expands captioning services at sports stadiums, website

University of Maryland football team running out onto the field
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Building on negotiations stemming from a lawsuit filed by the National Association of the Deaf in 2013, the University of Maryland has announced new measures to make its sports events more accommodating to people whom are deaf and hard of hearing.

“The National Association of the Deaf appreciates the actions of the University of Maryland to ensure their sporting events are accessible to deaf and hard of hearing fans through providing line-of-sight captioning at their facilities and captioning of all videos on their website,” said Howard A. Rosenblum, Esq., CEO of the NAD, which has received assistance from Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP in the case, in a news release.

The original lawsuit targeted the university’s basketball arena, the Xfinity Center, formerly the Comcast Center, and its football stadium, Capital One Field, formerly known as Byrd Stadium.

It alleged that the stadium’s failure to provide closed captioning over its public address system violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by depriving students who are deaf or hard of hearing from understanding “plays and penalties called, safety and emergency information, and any other announcement.”

In 2014, UMD installed ribbon bands at both facilities for displaying captions.

On July 27, UMD announced it would bring a second ribbon band to Capital One Field by the 2018 football season.

Starting with the 2016-17 athletic season, UMD will caption also newly posted videos on its Athletics Department website, as well as all archived videos of 10 minutes or longer. By 2018, all archived videos will be captioned under the agreement as well.

“Both sides has the same goal which is to make this an experience the best it can be for all fans. And so this agreement helps us get there…,” said Crystal Brown, a University of Maryland spokesperson, told WMAL.com. “This settlement allows us to accommodate everyone so I think there is a lot of support on campus here for it.”

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