Government Agency Issues Final Report on Collapse of Cowboys' Practice Facility

Today, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released its 125-page final report on the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys' practice facility out at Valley Ranch on May 9, during that surprise spring storm that left special teams coach Joe DeCamillis with crushed vertebrae and scout Rich Behm permanently paralyzed from the waist down. A draft of the report was released in October, but the NIST, a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, says its final report comes to the same conclusions: "The structure collapsed under wind loads significantly less than those required under applicable design standards." NIST's release announcing the report's release also says:

Also left unchanged after the comment period is NIST's recommendation that other fabric-covered frame structures be evaluated to ensure adequate performance under design wind loads. These evaluations, says NIST, should determine whether or not the fabric covering provides lateral bracing for structural frames considering its susceptibility for tearing; whether the building should be considered partially enclosed or fully enclosed based on the openings that may be present around the building's perimeter; and whether the failure of one or a few frame members may propagate, leading to a partial or total collapse of the structure.
The report, which is intended to improve structural safety and building codes around the country and can't be used in litigation, is a detailed doc filled with summaries of eyewitness accounts and construction documents, radar and weather reports during the storm, diagrams of the structure, photos pre- and post-collapse -- and, most important, pages' worth of equations that prove why 55 to 65 mile per hour winds shouldn't have knocked down a fabric-covered facility allegedly built to withstand 90 mph winds.

After the jump, a segment from HBO's Real Sports last week in which Frank DeFord reported on the fallout from the collapse of the "bubble."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky