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National Association of the Deaf sues U-Md. to provide closed captioning at athletic events

The National Association of the Deaf said it has filed suit in federal court to compel the University of Maryland to provide captioning on scoreboards during athletic events at Byrd Stadium and Comcast Center.

The association said on its website that the suit is being brought on behalf of two deaf fans, Sean Markel and Dr. Joseph Innes, who regularly attend football and basketball games. It says the absence of captioning discriminates against the deaf and hard of hearing who can’t hear announcements made over the public-address system.

Maryland’s athletic website says closed captioning of game announcements is made available through an Internet site accessible through smartphones or tablet devices.

“The University of Maryland is committed to providing an outstanding fan experience for all and we certainly do not discriminate against individuals with disabilities,” Brian Ullmann, assistant vice president for university marketing and communications, said Tuesday in a prepared statement. “We offer accommodations that we believe are in compliance with the law, including providing closed captioning of all game announcement through a special website accessible by any smart phone or tablet. We even offer the loan of tablets on gameday for those who require one. We continue to work to ensure an enjoyable game atmosphere for every one of our fans.”

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