Using Technology to Manage Sport Club Travel
April 06, 2011
Brian A. Kile
Assistant Director-Sport Clubs
University of Maryland
While Sport Club policies on travel play in an important role in managing one of the largest areas of risk in Sport Clubs, they are not effective unless consistently monitored and enforced. With an increase in club travel and overall participation, the University of Maryland turned to technology to increase efficiency and help ensure that their risk management requirements were being met.
In Spring 2005 the Sport Club staff at Maryland began a project with the department’s IT staff to develop Sport Club software called Sport Tool. After months of development and testing, Sport Tool was introduced to all club officers in Fall 2005.
Initial response to Sport Tool from the club officers was mixed. Some clubs found that Sport Tool not only assisted them in meeting the expectations of the department and University, but gave them a means to hold members of their club accountable. Other clubs found the program confining to ‘their ways’ of managing their club, but they still valued the University’s efforts to “modernize” the program.
While there were some initial struggles and resistance from disorganized clubs, Maryland’s staff could not have been happier with the end product. A year and a half after introduction, Sport Tool is being used by Maryland’s with great proficiency to manage rosters, submit activity reports, monitor budgets, and receive important messages from the Sport Club staff. However, Sport Tool has had no greater impact than in the area of risk management, specifically its use in Sport Club travel management.
Like all Sport Club programs, proper management of travel requires proper participant information, and the following provides a glimpse as to how the Sport Tool Travel Report feature works.
Member Roster (must first be established)
– Prospective members enter required contact information, including university ID, online.
– Waivers/informed consent forms are submitted manually to Sport Club staff (these ‘sport-specific’ waivers are available online). Once a year, these forms are matched to the information submitted by the students.
– Once an individual’s information is matched to their waiver/informed consent form they are officially recognized as a member of the Club by Campus Recreation Services (CRS).
-Name of member appears under appropriate Sport Club title on CRS website
-Log-in access through use of university ID/email account
-View limited information of other members (of their Club only)
o Eligible to appear on travel itineraries.
– Sport Tool also allows Sport Club staff to monitor member status and privileges.
-Officer access level with additional information
-Driver eligibility (see Travel Report below)
-CPR/AED and first aid certifications
Travel Itinerary Report
– Club members log-in to Sport Tool and complete five sections of information which include the following information.
o Trip Leader
-Scroll selection of eligible members (Member Roster)
-Specific information required for University reimbursement
-Host school and director
-Registration cost/payment methods
-Trip Leaders select from vehicle options (e.g. if they select ‘Enterprise’, a drop-down menu appears and asks key questions concerning this rental)
-Trip Leaders place eligible (Member Roster) drivers and passengers in vehicles
-Address/phone of the hotel
– The Travel Report verifies other Maryland policies when the form is submitted. The form will not allow the Club to submit unless specific polices are met (example — two CPR/AED certified members will be on the trip or EMTs onsite).
– Once the Travel Report is submitted, an email (sent to both the Trip Leader and the Sport Club staff) confirms that the Travel Report has been submitted and that the Trip Leader must attend a pre-scheduled travel meeting prior to departure.
– Sport Club staff review the Travel Report and make any necessary arrangements and notes in preparation for the travel meeting.
– At the travel meeting the Trip Leader is asked to review and sign copy the final Travel Report in addition to being provided additional travel materials and instructions.
– Sport Club staff approves the Travel Report online which then automatically sends an email to the Trip Leader, Sport Club staff, and Associate Director-Programs.
– In addition to online copies available to club members, Sport Club staff, and the Associate Director-Programs, hard copies of the signed Travel Reports are made available to the entire Maryland staff in the event of an emergency.
From a risk management perspective, the use of technology to help manage Sport Clubs at Maryland has resulted in improved efficiency and better tracking and control around transportation. While significant development time (and working with IT) was involved, it was well worth the effort!
(To access the University of Maryland Sport Clubs website, go to: http://www.crs.umd.edu/programs/sport_clubs/SportClubs.html. While general access to information is limited, you’ll be able to view various screens and get a better idea of how the Sport Tool program works.)