This study determined what the courts have said regarding the condition of equipment and facilities in physical education, athletic, and intramural programs and developed guidelines to assist sport managers. Four trends emerged from the study: (a) In comparison with the 14 equipment cases, the larger number of 60 facility cases is significant, (b) The number of reported cases based on the doctrine of governmental immunity did not decrease through the years, as was anticipated, but remained relatively constant within and across the decades, (c) The number of equipment and facility cases supports the observation that America is becoming an increasingly litigious society. (d) Generally neither age, role, sex of the injured party, nor the sport or activity within which the injury occurred would appear to influence the decision of the court. Court decisions consistently have been based on the presence or absence of the four elements necessary to prove negligence and the legal principle applied. Guidelines were extracted from the cases.
Lynne P. Gaskin is with the Department of Physical Education, 303 Forney Bldg., University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412.