Several universities, including The University of Southern Mississippi, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M will participate in a pilot program to test innovative security measures in areas including parking, concessions, merchandising and ticketing.
The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at Southern Miss and eVerifile (EVI) collaborated with the universities to develop the pilot, which includes systems and processes to better protect college sports facilities and entertainment venues.
The Department of Homeland Security ranks stadium attacks as one of the 12 most devastating possible acts of terrorism. The pilot will help establish a workforce risk management standard for major collegiate and professional venues to improve security measures and enhance safety for the thousands of sports and entertainment fans who attend events each year.
“Protecting spectators and participants at sporting and entertainment venues is one of our highest priorities,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of eVerifile, which provides industry-specific solutions that help organizations improve safety and security and meet government compliance requirements. “This partnership with the NCS4 enables us to address this important national security issue and put procedures in place to enhance safety for thousands of fans and athletes around the country.”
The universities will pilot a range of programs from eVerifile, including initiatives for employee and vendor background screening, safety education and venue access through credentialing.
The pilot follows on the heels of a meeting at which several universities joined eVerifileSM (EVI) and the NCS4 to discuss the security issues facing these venues and the administrators that manage them. The meeting was hosted by basketball legend, Earvin Magic Johnson, at Magic Johnson Enterprises.
“The initiative to increase the safety and security of sporting venues is of the upmost importance to stadium and team owners,” Johnson said. “With my new ownership position in the Los Angeles Dodgers, I intend to champion the importance of protecting players and spectators at all types of events.”
Dr. Lou Marciani, NCS4 director, concurred. “With millions of people attending sporting events around the world each year, we can’t afford to take stadium security lightly,” he said. “This is an issue of national importance. At NCS4 we’re committed to developing and testing strategies that will keep spectators everywhere as safe as possible.”