NCS⁴ NEWS eNewsletter | January 11, 2024

The NCS⁴ Welcomes New Staff Members

The NCS⁴ is excited to announce Dr. Brandon Allen as Director of Research and Anthony Palazzolo as Manager of Marketing and Business Development.

Brandon Allen, PhD, Director of Research

Dr. Brandon Allen will serve as the NCS⁴ Director of Research and Associate Teaching Professor of Sport Management in the College of Business and Economic Development. He has over 15 years of teaching and research experience in higher education. Dr. Allen’s research areas are business continuity planning in sport, sport security management, and economic impact/quality of life studies of sport complexes. He will lead the Center’s research efforts, including industry research reports, research seminars, and the research affiliate program.

Anthony Palazzolo, MBA, Manager of Marketing and Business Development

Anthony Palazzolo is the Manager of Marketing and Business Development. He is responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies, marketing communications, public relations activities, and business development for the Center.

Before joining NCS⁴, Palazzolo received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and an MBA with an emphasis in Sport Event Security Management from The University of Southern Mississippi. As a student at USM, he served as Interfraternity Council President, an Orientation Team Leader, and a Tour Guide in the Office of Admissions. While receiving his MBA, Palazzolo worked at the Southern Miss Alumni Association, where he served as the Assistant Director for Constituent Relations. In this role, he provided oversight to over 20 Alumni HUB groups as well as serving as the liaison for the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Council.

The NCS⁴’s Interscholastic Athletics and After-School Safety and Security Forum is Less Than Two Weeks Away!


The NCS⁴ team is looking forward to seeing our friends and colleagues at the 2024 National Interscholastic Athletics and After-School Activities Safety and Security Forum in Katy, Texas. Thank you to our Solution Partners for helping make this event possible.

Thanks to our Solution Partners!

There’s Still Time to Register for the Professional Sports and Entertainment Safety and Security Forum at Notre Dame.

Your voice matters! Register now to be part of the group shaping updates to NCS⁴ Best Practices for professional sports and entertainment venues and events. Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute your insights and be a crucial part of creating safer environments for everyone. Register today and ensure your voice is heard!

OBJECTIVE: To address key safety and security challenges facing the professional sports and entertainment industry and to share best practices for continuous improvement.

The threat environment surrounding high-profile sport and entertainment events is continually evolving. Discussing current issues and exploring solutions in a forum environment will help safety and security managers, operations managers, and local and state law enforcement enhance safety and security plans and operations.

In addition to general programming sessions on sports betting, drone operations, illicit drug usage at events, lessons learned from recent events, the human factor in security, and the impact of social media influencers, attendees will be involved in moderated discussions in the following areas:

  • Access and Functional Needs
  • Fire and Emergency Medical Planning
  • Staff Training and Development
  • Fan Behavior
  • Emergency Communications
  • Perimeter Security

We have very limited space for this event, and registration is based on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline to register is January 29, 2024, or until sold out, whichever comes first.


Their participation helps make this event possible.

Survey on Illicit Drug Use in Venues/Events

If you are a Venue Director or Event Manager, please consider taking a brief survey on Illicit Drug Use. Click the button below to complete the survey by January 21.

Make Plans and Join Us for the 2024 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition

The 15th annual conference will take place July 9-11, 2024, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, in conjunction with Title Sponsor, inOrbit. The conference will offer dynamic programming, solution provider engagement, and opportunities to network with fellow professionals. This highly regarded gathering of sports safety and security professionals is an opportune time to share ideas, tools, and proven strategies to help advance the industry. Make plans to attend the 15th Annual Conference in Phoenix and register now.

Have You Attended Every NCS⁴ National Conference Since 2010?

If so, we want to hear from you!

The NCS⁴ is celebrating 15 years of our annual conference by recognizing individuals who have attended the conference from the beginning. If you have attended all of the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibitions over the years, we want to hear from you. Please email Lauren Cranford at and let us know.

The 2024 Young Professional Scholarship Program

The NCS⁴ is committed to educating the next generation of sport and special event security professionals. The Young Professional Scholarship Program is designed for professionals 40 years of age or younger working in the sports and entertainment security industry. The scholarship program is sponsored by Axis Communications and supports young professionals’ educational goals by covering the NCS⁴ Annual Conference and Exhibition registration fee. Recipients are exposed to general educational programming, innovative technology solutions, security expert insights, and networking opportunities.

The NCS⁴ will award five scholarships covering the cost of registration to the National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition, July 9-11, 2024, in Phoenix.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024, @ 11:59 pm CDT

Recipients Notified: March 15, 2024

Application Criteria

  • Applicants must be 40 years of age or younger.
  • Applicants must be current practitioners in the sports and entertainment industry.
  • Applications must be completed online and submitted before the deadline.
  • Recipients must be able to attend the National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition on July 9-11, 2024, in Phoenix.

Click the button below to register or share with someone you know who might benefit from the scholarship!


Registration for exhibitors and sponsors is being accepted. Exhibitors may register online using the link below. For those interested in sponsoring, please contact Sara Priebe at to request a sponsorship packet or for additional information.

Registered NCS⁴ Conference Exhibitors and Sponsors Are Invited to Apply for the 2024 Golden Eagle Award

Excellence in Design and Innovation in Sport Venue Security Integration

Applicants from leading systems integration, architecture, design, engineering and consulting firms are invited to submit case studies from successful projects which had safety and security at the forefront of planning and execution.

The 2024 Golden Eagle Award recognizes excellence in system integration, architecture, engineering and/or construction (A/E/C) specifically related to the safety and security of spectators, property, and infrastructure of spectator event facilities. The Golden Eagle Award considers critical design and functionality elements that enable and promote the safety and security of all stakeholders in an efficient and effective manner.

A panel of judges reviews all applications to determine the most compelling projects. The winning submission will be selected as the 2024 Golden Eagle Award recipient, with the opportunity to present their case study to attendees at the National Conference. The winner will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon during the National Conference. Applicants are asked to provide the following project information for judges’ consideration:

  • Describe what risk or security issue your company was hired to address
  • Provide an overview of how your team strategically approached the project/security issue
  • Share details on the solution you provided, including technologies used to mitigate the security issue
  • Explain how the solution balanced safety/security with the fan experience
  • Submit a 600-word case study about the project

Judges will also consider:

  • Relevance to the sports industry
  • Effectiveness and efficiency of the solution in solving the identified problems/issues
  • The use of creativity, innovation, and technology in a way that leads the industry forward

To participate, interested applicants should complete an online application and submit it by March 18, 2024.

Save the Date

National Marathon and Endurance Events Safety and Security Forum

The NCS⁴ team is excited to announce the National Marathon and Endurance Events Safety and Security Forum will be held December 3-4, 2024, in Virginia Beach, Va. Mark your calendar and make plans to attend!

ICYMI: The Fall 2023 Issue of Gameday Security Magazine is Now Available!

We are excited to present our Fall edition of the Gameday Security magazine. The articles in this issue address the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in security management, human trafficking trends and the association with large sporting events, and the security and business considerations for professional sports teams or players competing on foreign soil. We also highlight the tremendous impact the NCS⁴ continues to have on the industry. Click the button below to read the issue.

ICYMI: New AI Technology Webinar Available

A new Technology Webinar on “An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence in Security” is now available on demand. Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in safety and security across various domains. Its ability to process vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and make real-time decisions has significantly transformed how we approach safety and security measures. In this webinar, the NCS⁴ Technology Alliance members discuss the application and significance of purpose-driven AI.

The NCS⁴ is the only organization that offers a certification recognizing expertise in sport security management. Earning the Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP) designation sets you apart from other professionals and highlights your dedication to remaining current with industry trends. Professionals in the sports security industry need to have a firm grasp of public safety measures and understand how to apply those measures in the unique environments created by sports venues and events. The CSSP certification validates expertise in the following domains:

  • Business and Facility Management
  • Emergency Planning
  • Emergency Management
  • Legal and Regulatory
  • Crowd Management
  • Security Principles and Practice

The CSSP certification is awarded to individuals who meet experience, education, and professional reference criteria and pass an exam relevant to sports safety and security management. It is maintained through ongoing continuing education and industry contribution requirements every three years.


  • Venue/Event Security Directors/Managers
  • Venue/Event Operations Directors/Managers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Emergency Managers
  • Private Security Practitioners
  • Fire/HAZMAT
  • EMS
  • Other Sports Safety and Security Leaders


  • Expand security knowledge and experience
  • Strengthen relationships with peers
  • Broaden career opportunities
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development


For more information, visit the website by clicking the button below or contact

NCS⁴ eLearning Options

The NCS⁴ eLearning platform, NCS⁴ LEARN, provides opportunities for individuals and organizations to access asynchronous professional development opportunities. Current offerings include the following:

Please visit the website or contact us at if you have any questions or would like to inquire about bulk registration.

Click one of the links above or the button below for details or to register.

Fundamentals of Crowd Safety Course

NCS⁴ and GKStill International have partnered to jointly offer the Fundamentals of Crowd Safety online E-Learning course to address capability gaps in crowd behavior and sciences. Professor Dr. G. Keith Still, Visiting Professor of Crowd Science at the University of Suffolk, developed this certified, accredited course. The course offers an 8-hour online interactive experience designed to teach the essential elements of crowd safety and crowd risk analysis. The course is especially valuable to event organizers, as it ensures that those who complete it are compliant with the NFPA 101 - Life Safety Code — specifically, the areas of section 12 of the code that require a venue to provide a crowd manager trained in crowd management techniques for occupancies exceeding 1000.

Sport and Special Event Staff Training and Development Course Coming Fall 2024

This DHS/FEMA-funded course, expected to be released in the fall of 2024, will bring together first responders, government, and commercial facilities personnel to improve safety and security training and development programs. The overall goal for this training is to provide tools and methodologies for training and developing staff assigned to and responsible for public safety at sporting and special events.

This course represents a cooperative effort between The University of Southern Mississippi's National Center for Spectator Sports Security and Safety (USM/NCS⁴) and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service's National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center (TEEX/NERRTC), a member of The Texas A&M University System.

College Football Playoff committee assigned security after involving FBI over Florida State fan threats

Members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee were assigned security protection over threats from Florida State fans after the undefeated ACC champion Seminoles were left out of the four-team bracket. CFP executive director Bill Hancock explained as much Monday following the annual meeting held hours before the CFP National Championship. Read more

Richmond Jewish Food Festival postponed over security risks, organizers say

The annual Richmond Jewish Food Festival has been postponed indefinitely over what organizers call a “volatile climate” of antisemitism surrounding the war between Israel and Hamas. Read more

Gun violence surrounding sports events calls for increased security measures

The tragedy in Lewiston, Maine, last week is the latest sign of troubling times in our nation with regard to gun violence. Eighteen people lost their lives and another 13 were injured in an incomprehensible mass shooting. Our hearts are burdened by this senseless act, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families whose lives have been turned upside down. Read more

SoFi Stadium struggles with brawls and security issues

A slew of recent fights at SoFi Stadium is spurring one security worker there to speak out about safety issues. Read more

Paris 2024 Games a 'considerable challenge' for bomb disposal squad

The Paris police bomb disposal team expect the Olympics to present them with a "considerable challenge" next year. Read more