Managing Risk in Club Sports Events

November 23, 2011

Kate Durant
Club Sports Program Coordinator
Student Activities
University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut has made it a requirement for student organizations planning special events, and Club Sports organizations to have risk management pre-planning meetings. This initiative was brought forth by our department ‘Risk Management Committee’ and through conversations with the university risk manager. Student Clubs’ events were getting bigger and more organized and students were coming forth to their advisors with more questions.

In these planning meetings with student officers, we define ‘Risk’ as an activity or event that can be a hazard or source of danger; something that may ultimately affect the outcome of their event. We talk about how Risk Management is the process of considering the potential and perceived risks involved in student organizations. It includes monitoring organization activities and taking both corrective action and proactive steps to minimize accidental injury and/or loss. We encourage Clubs to play out possible situations and discuss what controls can be taken to avoid or manage those risks at their events.
We also advise officers on the steps needed to keep risk to a minimum, and strategies on how to manage risk, both as individuals and as a group. Although managing risk may seem like a ‘huge’ task, supplying clubs with a checklist often helps:

    1. 1. Keep your advisor in the loop.
      2. Brainstorm ways to manage risk before your event. Have a plan!
      3. Remember! Each event can have multiple Risks.
      4. Understand that all types of Risks are equally important and are sometimes linked:
      Physical — Reputational — Emotional — Financial — Facility.
      5. Ask yourself if you are considering all elements of your event; can you accommodate everyone/everything?
      6. Step outside of the “bubble”; think about it from all perspectives i.e. Staff, Participants, etc.
      7. Advertise appropriately-know your audience.
      8. Realize that officers of clubs or organizations can be held liable.
      9. Know your resources: Student Organization Risk Management
      10. Document the event; keep a record for the future.

This checklist can be tailored to include travel procedures such as making sure they have a roster and emergency contact info with them at all times, a med kit, and a map with appropriate stops planned along the way.

For additional information on risk and risk management planning tips, we also direct Club Sports Officers to our new website: Risk Management 101

Keeping students informed of their risks provides administrators with an ‘on-site’ student risk manager who can help avoid some potential risks.

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