Dennis Van Milligen
Dennis Van Milligen has worked in business media for 15 years, the majority of that time spent as the editor in chief of a chemical engineering magazine. Since joining AB in 2013, Dennis helped launch Gameday Security, the official magazine of the the NCS4 focusing on protecting athletic and recreation events. A native of Wheaton, Ill., Dennis is a former All-State long distance runner who now uses whatever speed he has left to leg out doubles in recreational softball leagues. Dennis is a graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., and resides in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and two young daughters who are repeatedly told how much Dennis is going to hate every one of their boyfriends.
  • Monday, July, 21, 2014
    Shaping the Future of Athletics Safety and Security

    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, July, 15, 2014
    Tuesday Takedown: Talking Sports Safety at NCS4

    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. 


  • Friday, July, 11, 2014
    Angry Minority Destroying Social Media

    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, July, 08, 2014
    Tuesday Takedown: Collegiate Safety Best Practices

    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.


  • Monday, July, 07, 2014
    Inside the 2014 NCS4 Conference

    The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security will hold its fifth annual conference in Indianapolis, July 8-10. This year's theme of "The Business of Sports Safety and Security" fits perfectly with the evolving landscape of athletic security, according to NCS4 director Lou Marciani: "The security function's role is now more than ever a business one, as security has become a core function of finance, law, marketing and operations."


  • Tuesday, June, 24, 2014
    Tuesday Takedown: Security Fails Marring Best World Cup

    Security at this year's FIFA World Cup has been intensely scrutinized, starting months in advance as host country Brazil raced to get its stadiums ready for the 32-team tournament, a topic addressed by AB's Michael Gaio last month. Next came the safety of athletes, coaches and spectators.


  • Monday, June, 23, 2014
    Parent Behavior, Cyberbullying Hurting High School Sportsmanship

    It is widely acknowledged that the role of high school athletics is to promote life-skills education through sports, but lately a key life skill in this equation — sportsmanship — has deteriorated on the interscholastic level to the point that one high school athletic association recently considered banning the time-honored post-game handshake.


  • Tuesday, June, 17, 2014
    Tuesday Takedown: Little Sense in Volunteer-Coach Ban

    Being Father's Day last Sunday, I felt compelled to weigh in on a story that came across our newswire last week where a country board in South Carolina is considering banning volunteer parents from coaching to avoid the perceived "favoritism" that is apparently associated with parents coaching their children. Yes, you read correctly. At a time when we are dealing with a coaching crisis of sorts across the country and should be encouraging parents to be more involved in their child's life, there is a group out there that wants to ban those parents from not only helping their kids, but other kids on that sports team, as well.  


  • Tuesday, June, 10, 2014
    Tuesday Takedown: Witnessing a Health Club's Rebirth

    It is safe to say that necessity is the mother of reinvention these days in the health club industry. The rise of in-home fitness options and low-priced health clubs are certainly factors in fitness chains reinventing themselves and how they attract/retain members, but for the Midtown Athletic Club, neither played a role in its $1 million renovation this year. Rather, it was an industry trend driving its new approach and layout.


  • Tuesday, June, 03, 2014
    Absence of Accountability in Recent High School Attacks

    Toward the beginning of 2013, Lockport (N.Y.) High School athletic director Patrick Burke was the recipient of the 2013 Empire State Supervisors and Administrators Association's Administrator of the Year Award. He has been praised by his peers for his work ethic and leadership, and for being a role model at the school he loves and within the community he serves. Toward the end of 2013, Burke found himself the recipient of something entirely different: a beating by two intoxicated students he attempted to confront for unruly behavior at a basketball scrimmage.


  • Monday, January, 26, 2015
    High Schools Earn Failing Grade in Security Planning

    It was a situation that, according to reports, school officials should've seen coming.


  • Wednesday, January, 07, 2015
    Paris a Somber Reminder What Lurks Around Each Corner

    The slaughter of more than a dozen people by masked gunmen at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has provided a sickening reminder of the evil that lurks around every corner. There are still a lot of unknowns but what we do know is this: eight of the dead are journalists, two were police, one was a guest of the editorial board, and one was at the reception desk. The humanist in me mourns for the victims and their families. The journalist in me mourns for my media peers. But in this industry, that sadness must be repurposed in a focused direction. Paris is a reminder that this type of terrorist attack can happen anytime, and anywhere. It's why our mission to protect the sports we love, the fans we love, the athletes we love and the staff we love, is so important. 


  • Monday, December, 15, 2014
    Athletic Business Readers’ Support, Feedback Drive Growth

    Throughout the year, a hefty gentleman prone to wearing red receives millions of letters from children around the world asking for items that will make them happier — items they believe they have earned via behavior exhibited during that aforementioned year. While not quite as hefty and more open to other color combinations, I share some things in common with that jolly fella from up north. Specifically, I, too, receive letters every year, but these letters don't come from children. They are sent by the coaches and athletic administrators of these children, asking me for help or thanking me for providing them with the items they need to be successful.


  • Tuesday, December, 09, 2014
    Blog: The Day I Became a Sports Security Evangelist

    Life-changing events can happen at any time, and when you least expect it. It's common for events early in your personal life to shape you — I won a young author's contest and a big race in elementary school, which ultimately lead to me becoming a writer and runner. But to have it happen on a professional level, nearly 20 years into your career no less, is fairly uncommon. But that's exactly what happened when I attended the 2013 NCS4 Conference in Orlando just two weeks into my tenure at Athletic Business. To say the conference had a profound impact on me would be an understatement. The reality is this — Gameday Security™ exists because of that NCS4 Conference.


  • Monday, October, 20, 2014
    Improving Pool Safety with Model Aquatic Health Code

    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.


  • Thursday, October, 09, 2014
    Fan Violence Reaching New Lows

    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.


  • Tuesday, September, 16, 2014
    The Death of the Multisport Athlete

    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.


  • Friday, August, 22, 2014
    Should Athletes Lose Scholarships Over Social Media Miscues?

    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.


  • Wednesday, August, 06, 2014
    Protecting Athletes From Heat-Related Illnesses

    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.


  • Monday, July, 21, 2014
    Shaping the Future of Athletics Safety and Security

    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.