• Improving Pool Safety with Model Aquatic Health Code

    by Dennis Van Milligen October 2014

    The movie "Jaws" made you afraid to go into the water, but it was the inclusion of the "Jaws" theme music in another "scary" water scene five years later that likely resonated more with moviegoers. But instead of a shark, the object of fear was a Baby Ruth candy bar. Harold Ramis' classic comedy "Caddyshack" — virtually impossible not to quote while golfing nearly 35 years after its release — makes light of the pool safety nightmare known as a Code Brown, but that subject is certainly no laughing matter to pool operators tasked with keeping their aquatic facilities safe and clean.

  • Fan Violence Reaching New Lows

    by Dennis Van Milligen October 2014

    Levi's Stadium is the most technologically advanced stadium in the U.S., so why have people only been talking about what's happened in its bathrooms? The reason is a sickening video that shows a fan apparently telling another fan that a stall is open for him to use. The fan responds with three fast punches that knock that fan unconscious, rendering him partially paralyzed. And earlier in the week at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, three men brutally beat a man in the parking lot after the Angels lost to the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. As of this writing, there was no reason given for the attack. It may seem that fan violence in California receives the most national media attention (why are you so angry California sports fans?), but the reality is that fan violence is everywhere. 

    My eight-year-old daughter has asked me multiple times when I'm finally going to take her to her first Chicago Bears game. I tell her when the Bears have a defense, but the truth is that I don't want to expose her or her six-year-old sister to that environment. The cursing and obnoxious behavior, sadly they have seen that with Daddy when he watches the aforementioned Bears defense. But the fan violence, that is the real reason that keeps my family away from professional sporting events these days. 

    Fan violence isn't increasing and it's not a new phenomenon at sporting events; we just have the technology (camera phones) to document each and every incident. NFL attendance will always remain strong. After all, it's still the most popular sport in this country and most teams only have eight home game opportunities, so the people will always be there, along with the temptation to apparently punch those people. So what can we do to turn left hooks into fist bumps?

    In the October issue of Athletic Business, crowd-control expert Dr. Tamara Madensen examines crowd dynamics, and why event and security managers tasked with protecting its spectators must thoroughly understand these types of situations if they are truly committed to curbing fan violence. There are a variety of other tactics venues can employ, as AB senior editor Paul Steinbach learned in his great One on One with Fans Against Violence founder Kathy Samoun. FAV is a fan-based organization committed to "taking back the stands." Check out FAV's website, well worth the time.  

    I've been fortunate to have become more and more immersed in sports security through my close work with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), and I can assure all families and fans that ensuring a safe environment for all spectators is a topic constantly being addressed by those responsible for securing those events and venues. Because this is the fight that's not only worth fighting, but a fight we must win.  


  • The Death of the Multisport Athlete

    by Dennis Van Milligen September 2014

    Friday night lights are back for high schools across the country, and as you read this, many of the nation's top athletes are hard at work on the gridiron preparing for this week's upcoming game. I remember my first experience around a star athlete. I was 11 years old and my oldest brother was attending Wheaton North High School, which at that time was home to Kent Graham, the best high school athlete in the state of Illinois. Kent was a 6-foot-5-inch physical freak and the number-one-ranked quarterback in the nation. He also played safety. He earned three all-conference distinctions in basketball and regularly hit .400 for the baseball team. My dad fondly recalls Kent hitting a home run off my brother in Little League that cleared the lights and still hasn't landed.

  • Should Athletes Lose Scholarships Over Social Media Miscues?

    by Dennis Van Milligen August 2014

    One of the debates that has intrigued me recently involves the increasing amount of coaches that are withdrawing scholarship offers due to a high school recruit exhibiting unacceptable or inappropriate behavior on social media. According to this story we published last week, high school coaches in Georgia are applauding University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt for dropping a recruit that misbehaved on Twitter.

  • Robin Williams Drew Attention to Inaugural Augie’s BASH

    by Paul Steinbach August 2014

    Robin Williams possessed the kind of frenetic magnetism that dared you to look away. For me, it wasn’t possible. The actor/comedian’s larger-than-life persona was tailor-made for a movie screen.

  • Protecting Athletes From Heat-Related Illnesses

    by Dennis Van Milligen August 2014

    No one should forget that deadly week in the summer of 2011 when two high school football players and one high school football coach died from heat-related causes. That following summer, in 2012, athletic administrators were feeling a different kind of heat: parents of the two football players who died in 2011, Isaiah Laurencin in Florida and Don'terio J. Searcy in Georgia, sued their respective county boards, asserting that the coaches pushed the boys too hard. Both schools, Miramar (Fla.) High School and Fitzgerald (Ga.) High School, boast prominent football programs. And it's not just the schools and county boards drawing the legislative ire of angry parents.

  • Shaping the Future of Athletics Safety and Security

    by Dennis Van Milligen July 2014

    Editor's note: Look for more Sports Venue Safety articles as we publish a new one online each day this week. Or, view the entire digital issue here.

    My first exposures to the issues of safety and security at a sporting event came when I was eight years old. It was at Old Comiskey, back when the Chicago White Sox were "winning ugly" in the American League West. I remember going to at least half a dozen games that year with my father as the White Sox fought for an AL West championship, but that wasn't the only fighting I witnessed. The fights in the stands became as much of a spectacle as the game itself. It got to a point that we never wondered if a fight would break it, but rather when. Though I attended games with my father, a U.S. Navy SEAL and Golden Gloves boxing champion, I never had a complete sense of safety. Still, I was undeterred. I loved going to Old Comiskey and watching the White Sox despite the extracurricular activities.

  • Tuesday Takedown: Talking Sports Safety at NCS4

    by Dennis Van Milligen July 2014

    I had the pleasure to travel down beautifully boring I-65 to Indianapolis last week for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security's annual conference, where the superheroes of the sports security world gathered to address the constantly evolving challenge of protecting its venues, athletes and spectators from new and old threats alike. Outside of the Athletic Business Conference & Expo, there is no other conference I look forward to attending more, and this year's show did not disappoint. 

  • Angry Minority Destroying Social Media

    by Dennis Van Milligen July 2014

    Popular AB contributor Chris Yandle, assistant AD for communications at the University of Miami, wrote a great post for our website in May about our collective love/hate relationship with social media.

  • Tuesday Takedown: Collegiate Safety Best Practices

    by Dennis Van Milligen July 2014

    NCS4 kicked off its annual conference and expo Monday with the formal introduction of its Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Best Practices Guide. The 100-plus page "living" document is the result of collegiate security and safety leaders brainstorming ideas at NCS4's first National Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Summit last January at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to symposium moderator Paul Denton, chief of police at Ohio State University.