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.
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, April, 22, 2015
Reflecting On My 2014 as I Turn Forty
One of the best (and worst) parts of working in the athletics, fitness and recreation industry is personally witnessing how many of my readers have gotten better with age. At the 2014 Athletic Business Conference & Expo, the exhibit hall was packed with veteran single-digit-body-fat attendees testing the latest and greatest in fitness equipment. Even Fast Company cofounder and keynote speaker William Taylor tweeted that it was the fittest audience he'd ever addressed.
Monday, April, 20, 2015
Blog: Living in the Wild, Wild ISC West
Being a first-time ISC West attendee, I had been warned to prepare for a “monster.” Boasting more than 1,000 exhibitors and close to 30,000 attendees, ISC West is the largest security tradeshow in the United States, and last week, I went toe-to-toe with the “monster” in Las Vegas. Yes, in a town built on gambling and taking risks, I was going to a show built on mitigating or eliminating risk.
Monday, April, 06, 2015
How to Protect Against Rioting at Your College
Joe Monroe, chief of police at the University of Kentucky, has gotten used to protecting the streets of Lexington from rioting fans. He's had to do so frequently over the past few years as the school's men's basketball team, led by head coach John Calipari, has made four Final Four appearances the past five years. Last Saturday night, after the previously undefeated Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Wisconsin, fans took to the streets of Lexington (yet again). Monroe and his campus police team (yet again) had to protect the community and keep the peace in collaboration with city police. Monroe, who teaches special-event planning for NCS4 and Texas A&M, shares his experiences while providing advice to other campus safety professionals in this Gameday Security exclusive interview:
Monday, April, 06, 2015
Blog: Madison Prepares for the Best, and Worst, Tonight
There was never any doubt that chaos would reign supreme across the streets of Lexington, but those that bleed Kentucky blue (and many that don't) expected that chaos to come tonight after Kentucky completed its perfect season with a victory over Duke. Instead, that time frame was accelerated to Saturday night when John Calipari's McDonald's All-Americans fell to Bo Ryan's Wisconsin team 71-64 in the NCAA men's basketball national semifinal.
Friday, March, 27, 2015
Blog: Destroying the Student-Athlete — A Cautionary Tale
For far too many college athletic programs, acting in the best interests of the student-athlete is pure fiction. From academic fraud to sexual assaults, colleges and universities have frequently failed their student-athletes by putting their best interests ahead of the student-athlete's. These failures extend beyond what is making national headlines, and can happen at the most unlikely of institutions — in my case, a Catholic university.
Monday, February, 23, 2015
Blog: Misfiring on Active-Shooter Preparation
Two years ago, while picking up my oldest daughter from school, I was overwhelmed with anxiety, fear and one all-consuming thought: Get her home.
Sunday, February, 08, 2015
Back To School for My Collegiate Security Education
Death Valley is the intimidating home field of LSU football where, on any given Saturday in the fall, the number of tailgating, non-ticket-holding fans can equal the 100,000+ entering the gates to watch their beloved Tigers. It's a security nightmare that requires meticulous planning, flawless execution, and a little help from your friends in the industry.
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.