The purpose of this study is to examine the COOP preparedness of NCAA Division 1 athletic departments and determine whether there are significant differences among athletic programs based on geographic location; conference membership; student enrollment; presidential declared disaster experience; athletic budget; and type of institution (public vs. private).
Participants of this study included a stratified, voluntary sample of athletic directors and facility directors from NCAA Division 1 athletic programs (N=344). Approximately 91 participants successfully completed the survey for a response rate of 26%. The survey instrument addressed two separate categories: 1) continuity of operations preparedness (26-items); and 2) general demographic information (geographic location, conference membership, student enrollment, presidential disaster experience, athletic budget, and type of institution). Continuity of operations preparedness questions were derived from the FEMA CPMC standards. Question items were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale and categories were defined as:1 = no progress (no progress has been made toward achieving the identified continuity requirement); 2 = limited progress (preliminary efforts have been initiated such as plans to develop this aspect of the capability); 3 = moderate progress (significant efforts are underway but important gaps remain); 4 = substantial progress (efforts in this area are established and mature, with few non-significant gaps); and 5 = objective achieved (requirement is fully achieved with regard to this capability) (FEMA Continuity Evaluation Tool, 2009). The total score from the 26-items was used to measure the institution’s level of preparedness.
Continuity of operations preparedness of NCAA division I schools overall fell below 4.0 on a 5.0 scale, indicating that significant efforts are underway but important gaps remain. Furthermore, some athletic conferences reported scores below 3.0, indicating very limited progress. There were no statistically significant differences based on geographic location, conference membership, student enrollment, presidential disaster experience, and type of institution. These findings oppose the geographic proximity, temporal proximity, size of organization, and ownership of organization (private vs. public) as influential factors for COOP proposed by Dunaway (2010) and Woodman (2007). Athletic departments should be concerned with the perceived lack of COOP preparedness. Specifically, there is a need for improvement in training and exercises which support the previous studies of Beckman (2006) and Baker, et al. (2007). NCAA stakeholders need to address gaps and aid policy makers in the implementation of standard COOP measures. In conclusion, athletic departments should review and adhere to FEMA’s guidelines and standard procedures for COOP preparedness.