National Association of the Deaf

NAD Files Complaint against University of Maryland College Park Athletic Programs

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Joseph B. Espo, an attorney with Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, today filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland College Park and several of its officials over the university’s long-standing and continuing failure to provide captioning of announcements and commentary made over the public address systems during athletic events at Byrd Stadium and the Comcast Center.  The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  The lawsuit asks the court to order that captioning be provided as required under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Sean Markel and Dr. Joseph Innes, two individuals who are deaf and who regularly attend football games at Byrd Stadium and both men’s and women’s basketball games at Comcast Center.

The complaint asks the court to order the university to provide and display captioning on the scoreboards and jumbotrons for all announcements made over the public address system, including plays and penalties called, safety and emergency information, and any other announcements.

“Athletic events are tremendously popular for the general public to attend, and this is true also for deaf and hard of hearing fans,” stated Howard A. Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer of the NAD.  “All professional and collegiate sports teams need to recognize that many fans, not just those who are deaf or hard of