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, December, 08, 2014
High School Football Participation Up After Decline
When you take a quick look at recent youth and high school football participation numbers, the picture isn't very pretty. Participation in Pop Warner decreased nearly 10 percent from 2010 to 2012, and numerous state high school associations have reported similar declines in their respective football numbers — since 2007, for example, Michigan's numbers have decreased more than 10 percent. According to statistics from the National Federation of State High School Associations, from 2007 to 2012, nationwide participation dipped by 20,000.
Friday, November, 21, 2014
Ensuring Safe Venues Starts with Event Staff Screening
Texas A&M's Kyle Field began its $450 million renovation in November 2013, with a completion date goal set for September 6, 2014 — the Aggies' first home game of the season versus Lamar University. The upgrades are extensive, including expanded seating by close to 25,000 (from 80,000 to approximately 105,000), making it the largest football stadium in the SEC. With the increase in the number of fans came an increase in security demands for the 2014 home opener unlike any Aggies associate athletic director Mike Caruso had dealt with before.
Tuesday, November, 18, 2014
Tech, Funding Drive High School Scoreboard Upgrades
Beyond the playing surface itself, sports fans' eyes are drawn most often to one must-have venue amenity: the scoreboard. For high school administrators committed to modernizing their facilities without the funding to do so, scoreboards are increasingly seen as a great place to start. "Budgets are tighter than they've ever been," says Mike Daniel, CEO for Murray, Ky.-based Sportable Scoreboards. "Athletics has such a broad footprint, as it draws in so many folks to the school, that athletic administrators have to come across as putting their best foot forward, and a scoreboard is a big part of that."
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.
Wednesday, October, 01, 2014
First-Time Speakers Discuss ABC Presentations
The Athletic Business Conference & Expo returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 13-15. While hundreds of attendees and exhibitors will reunite for North America's largest fall athletics, fitness and recreation show, there will be plenty of new faces this year, as well. Specifically, attendees will have a variety of new speakers to choose from within the 10 seminar tracks offered at ABC. AB editor in chief Dennis Van Milligen recently touched base with some of those speakers to discuss their presentations and what attendees can expect, as well as their own expectations for this year's show.
Wednesday, September, 17, 2014
Integrating Entrance-Screening Technology in High Schools
Last February, New Hanover (N.C.) High School escaped a second-round upset bid by Knightdale in the boys' basketball playoffs courtesy of a last-second shot that broke a 53-53 tie, but that wasn't the only drama associated with this hotly contested game. Spectators entering the game had to go through a metal detector, a move that was necessitated by a 15-year-old student bringing a .22 caliber handgun to New Hanover's first-round game against Ashley High School. The walkthrough metal detector was set up shortly before the game, replacing police offers using handheld detectors. As New Hanover athletic director Keith Moore told StarNews of Wilmington, "I'd rather be safe than sorry."
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.
Monday, August, 25, 2014
Multimedia Marketing Transforms High School Athletics
To say the business of high school sports marketing has evolved during Jack Roberts' tenure would be an understatement. Roberts, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, just completed his 28th year in that position. He fondly remembers when he started, a time before fax machines and a time when lengthy face-to-face meetings were all part of doing business.
Tuesday, April, 01, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Rioting Is The Real March Madness
I am proud to call Madison, Wis. my home away from home. Despite being based in the Chicago area, I have had the pleasure of spending many weeks over the past nine months in Madison at AB Media headquarters. The office is located approximately one mile from the beautiful University of Wisconsin campus. Needless to say, many of my co-workers bleed Badger red and now, by extension, so do I. On Monday, I walked into the office to many smiling faces after Wisconsin's thrilling overtime victory over Arizona on Saturday punched the Badgers' ticket to the NCAA Men's Final Four. But while Wisconsin experienced the thrill of victory, Arizona took the agony of defeat to a sadly familiar level.
Tuesday, March, 25, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Judgmental Gym Sends Wrong Message
It has been quite a week for the "Judgment Free Zone" national gym chain known as Planet Fitness, which made national headlines for being the exact opposite. Both Tarainia McDaniel and Tiffany Austin managed to wander outside that aforementioned judgment free zone recently, being told by their respective Planet Fitness gyms how they should dress.
Tuesday, March, 18, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Lawsuits Over Life Lessons
There is a disturbing trend that is showing no signs of slowing down: The rise of lawsuits in youth sports. Rather than focus on the important life lessons their children are learning, parents are focusing on who's to blame. Their targets are numerous: It's the referee or official not foreseeing potential player injury risks on the field; the coach that is not playing their child or is making poor decisions that are hurting the team; the league for not providing the type of venue and services expected… The list goes on and on.
Thursday, February, 13, 2014
A Look Inside Prominent Collegiate Sustainability Efforts
In the December 2013 issue of AB, senior editor Paul Steinbach examined the growing interest in stadium and arena sustainability, citing a groundbreaking new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council in collaboration with the Green Sports Alliance and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The report, “Collegiate Game Changers,” represents the first time that sustainability efforts currently under way at collegiate sports departments have been documented. According to the report, more than 200 college sports programs (including both intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation programs) are prioritizing a greener approach, prompting Alice Henly, coordinator of NRDC’s collegiate sports work and author of the report, to declare in an NRDC press release: “College athletics and recreation programs are leading the sustainability charge.”
Wednesday, January, 22, 2014
Blog: Prioritizing The Student-Athlete a Must for ADs
Since I have been a member of the AB team, I have had the fortunate opportunity to chronicle the challenges high school athletic administrators are facing in today's high-pressure, win-at-all-costs environment. We hear about all the steps that are being taken to protect the student-athlete from a physical standpoint, but what about from an emotional and psychological standpoint?
Monday, October, 21, 2013
Diving Into the World Aquatics Health Conference
Debbie couldn't believe she was in the same position again. Four years ago, her daughter missed making the U.S. Olympic swim team. It had been agonizing then as her daughter, who was favored to make the team, struggled through her swim. Even her children, including her 11-year-old son, were in shock. After the race, it was discovered Debbie's daughter had swam through herniated discs and stress fractures in her back.
Friday, October, 11, 2013
Blog: A Budding Star Resurfaces
Villains in the world of track and field are rare. Turning fans and/or competitors against you typically requires doing one thing: cheating. But for young Zola Budd at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, there was no cheating. There was no boisterous verbal sparring with her media-created rival, American Mary Decker. All it took was a racing error on Decker's part to turn Budd into one of the most despised athletes in America - at the ripe old age of 18.