The University of Maryland will be rolling out more accommodations to deaf and hard-of-hearing Terps fans as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit.
Beginning this fall, the university will caption new videos posted on UMD Athletics websites and the Athletics Department’s YouTube Channel, as well as archived videos that are longer than 10 minutes. By 2018, the university will caption all remaining archived videos.
“It is important to the University of Maryland that we create an environment where all fans can enjoy intercollegiate athletics both on campus and online, and we are proud to take measures that move us further toward this goal,” said university spokesperson Brian Ullmann in a statement.
The lawsuit, filed in 2013, alleged hearing-impaired fans were being deprived of the full experience at football and basketball games because without closed captioning on the electronic scoreboards and ribbon boards, they could not understand referee calls, commentary and song lyrics. The university responded at the time by claiming its method of accommodating those fans — providing closed captioning through a website that could be accessed with a smartphone or tablet — allowed deaf and hard-of-hearing fans to enjoy the games.
In 2014, the university purchased and installed ribbon boards that could display captions for basketball games at Xfinity Center and football games at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. An additional ribbon board is set to be installed at Capital One Field for the 2018 football season.
“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,” CEO Howard A. Rosenblum said in a statement.