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.
  • 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, 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.


  • Friday, July, 25, 2014
    Planning, Training Key to Protecting Aquatic Venues

    Editor's note: This story originally appeared in Sports Venue Safety, a new supplement to Athletic Business. View the entire Sports Venue Safety digital issue here.

    Sean Sepela has spent most of his life around water — as a swimmer, certified lifeguard, swim coach, and currently as the aquatics operations manager at George Mason University. As Sepela has immersed himself deeper into the aquatics world, he has recognized the evolving challenges aquatic facilities are facing today compared to years past. "There are a lot more concerns today compared to when I first started," he says. "Those 'what-if' situations we simply thought about years ago must be evaluated, assessed and trained for to ensure the safety of our swimmers and the facility itself."


  • 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.


  • Thursday, May, 28, 2015
    Head Injuries Impacting All Football Levels

    My 11-year-old godson is a tough kid. He plays big for his size (by comparison, my just-turned nine-year-old daughter is taller) and has shown enough ability to have his family — and me — believing he has a real future in sports. But that sport won't be football. After sustaining two concussions, his parents made the decision to pull him out of football despite his love of the game, and his relative success at an early age.


  • 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.