Dissertations

Doctoral Dissertations

The purpose of this study was to identify core competencies for supervisory-level security management professionals working in the sports and entertainment industry. Qualified and trained sport and event security management professionals are essential to support the U.S. homeland security objectives outlined in Presidential Policy Directive-21. Providing effective safety and security for sports and entertainment events requires specialized knowledge and skill on the behalf of security management practitioners who detect, deter, prevent, and respond to potential risks and threats. This qualitative research study employed a Delphi research design to elicit expertise from a purposefully selected panel of experts (N = 36). The expert panel suggested a list of competencies in Delphi round one and rated each competency statement based on level of importance and frequency using a 5-point Likert scale.
The expert panel produced 136 core competencies in seven clusters: Risk Management, Emergency Planning, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Leadership, Communication, Building Collaborative Relationships, and Human Resource Management. Twenty-nine panelists successfully completed all three rounds of the Delphi study yielding a 93.5% response rate. Sport and event security management professionals and industry stakeholders can use the validated list of competencies to develop human capital and improve performance though the strategic application of human resource management.

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TThe available literature on so-called hooliganism in Europe has been predominantly concerned with explanations in which football violence is assumed to be a manifestation of violent subcultures and with socially-orientated methods of prevention. Unlike the hegemonic theoretical approach in the field, this thesis is concerned with the formation of football-related crime, which it treats as a situated event, rather than criminality, which historically has been regarded as a social, biological or psychological phenomenon. By explicitly favouring the situational approach to crime prevention, the thesis provides an informative insight into how football-related crime prevention strategies are perceived and interpreted by intended targets, namely football fans, in Turkey. Symbolic interaction theory is employed as the assistant theoretical framework when making sense fans’ attitudes towards different situational crime prevention (SCP) techniques. The perspectives of the intended targets in relation to the relevant techniques are revealed through semi-structured interviews conducted with the representatives of the fan groups of Fenerbahge, one of the major football teams in Turkey. Using Fenerbahge as a single-case, the multiple and complex social realities underlying the reactions against and the attitudes towards football-related crime control in Turkey are explained and the core principles of the latest SCP model which are likely to improve fans’ perceptions are outlined. The interactionist approach also explains individual differences in provocation which is acknowledged as an important situational precipitator in relation to violent crime. The value of precipitator-control within the Turkish football context is accordingly revealed.

Full Dissertation

The purpose of this project was to optimize football stadium evacuation time by integrating geo-computation with affordance theory from perceptual psychology to account for evacuee characteristics: age, gender, physical fitness, alcohol consumption, and prior experience attending football games at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), evacuating from large, outdoor public places, and with hazard events.
According to the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, football stadiums are part of the country’s critical infrastructure warranting special government protection. Evacuation modeling was identified as an important component of game day emergency preparation. Research shows that: (1) the age, gender, and physical fitness of an individual impact his/her locomotion speed; (2) evacuation route choice is influenced by the perception of its safety and effectiveness; and (3) prior evacuation experience affects evacuation decision-making processes. By including these factors, this research, conducted at USM’s M.M. Roberts Stadium, represents the reality of evacuee movement and behaviors that influence stadium evacuation time.
A questionnaire-based survey was administered to game attendees prior to a USM home game to gather evacuee attribute data that influenced locomotion speed. This data, plus secondary spatial data, were used in an agent-based model to model individual evacuee movement. The time required for all evacuees to exit the stadium and campus was 165.16 minutes. This time was significantly shorter than evacuation times from the same location using non-location-specific evacuee locomotion speeds, suggesting that use of local data is vital to accurately depicting evacuation time. The findings also indicated that age and gender were the two main factors that impacted locomotion speeds.
The main contributions of this study were: (1) optimizing evacuation time by using location-specific locomotion speeds and (2) providing insights into how evacuees’ physical and mental health influence their evacuation decision-making processes. The U.S. government and sports management industry could use these findings to increase game day safety and security. Due to the spatio-temporal nature of evacuation modeling and perceptions of evacuees that impact evacuation time, this research contributed to the fields of geography, computer science, sport management, psychology, and emergency management.


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Numerous studies have been conducted on football ‘hooliganism’ with the majority of this work ignoring the immediate, environmental conditions that facilitate opportunities for crime in the football match day context. Consequently, the existing theoretical framework for explaining why crime emerges during football matches remains incomplete. This thesis aims to fill this gap for understanding modern football-related crime and disorder.
The thesis uses a predominantly environmental criminology framework to explore whether crime opportunity theories can make sense of crime patterns observed around previously unexplored English domestic football stadia. It is crime event-oriented, focusing on how variation in the ecology of the area around stadia on match days and a set of counterfactual days when the stadium is not used facilitates different criminal opportunities. This is achieved primarily through the analysis of police-recorded crime data for three kilometer areas surrounding a sample of five stadia for the period 2005-2010.
The thesis focuses on three components of crime events - where they occur, when they occur, and why a disproportionate amount of it clusters in some neighborhoods and not others. Despite the contrasting physical environment around the five stadia, the findings suggest very similar spatial and temporal crime patterns in the area surrounding stadia when they are used relative to when they are not and thus lend support to environmental theories of crime in the football context. The findings also help draw attention to where and when crime is elevated on football match days. The implications of the research for reducing the unintended and unwanted side-effect of football that is desired for the positive utilities it brings, in particular the practicality of employing situational crime prevention in the context of English domestic football are discussed.


Full Dissertation

Professional sporting events represent an increasingly growing segment of the national economy and, as a pastime, include annual participation from hundreds of millions of spectators. Providing effective safety and security for these events is a daunting task. Many professional sport venues are iconic structures for mass gatherings that represent susceptible targets for crises such as rising episodes of fan violence, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.
As concerns are ongoing, professional sport organizations need security professionals who not only have the competencies to manage a crisis, but who also lead an organization post-crisis in order to affect organizational learning and improvement. A combination of crisis management and crisis leadership competencies has been developed through this research and form the dependent variables of the newly formed Crisis Readiness Score (CRS) research instrument.
The study documents and establishes a baseline for the perceived levels of these crisis readiness competencies. Through hypothesis testing, the study also examines the relationships between education levels, experience levels, and participation in training on the crisis readiness competencies. The study targeted individuals responsible for security at six major professional sport venues throughout the United States and Canada. The questionnaire was sent to 151 security directors with 71 of the surveys completed. A statistical multiple regression was performed to analyze the hypotheses. Education level was not found to be a significant predictor of crisis readiness competency development. Both experience level and participation in training were found to be significant predictors of crisis readiness competency development.
The study enhances previous collegiate sport security research by identifying the level of competencies held by the professional sport security workforce. The findings also establish a baseline to which subsequent measures of such competencies can be compared.


Full Dissertation

The purpose of this study is to examine the COOP preparedness of NCAA Division 1 athletic departments and determine whether there are significant differences among athletic programs based on geographic location; conference membership; student enrollment; presidential declared disaster experience; athletic budget; and type of institution (public vs. private).
Participants of this study included a stratified, voluntary sample of athletic directors and facility directors from NCAA Division 1 athletic programs (N=344). Approximately 91 participants successfully completed the survey for a response rate of 26%. The survey instrument addressed two separate categories: 1) continuity of operations preparedness (26-items); and 2) general demographic information (geographic location, conference membership, student enrollment, presidential disaster experience, athletic budget, and type of institution). Continuity of operations preparedness questions were derived from the FEMA CPMC standards. Question items were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale and categories were defined as:1 = no progress (no progress has been made toward achieving the identified continuity requirement); 2 = limited progress (preliminary efforts have been initiated such as plans to develop this aspect of the capability); 3 = moderate progress (significant efforts are underway but important gaps remain); 4 = substantial progress (efforts in this area are established and mature, with few non-significant gaps); and 5 = objective achieved (requirement is fully achieved with regard to this capability) (FEMA Continuity Evaluation Tool, 2009). The total score from the 26-items was used to measure the institution’s level of preparedness.
Continuity of operations preparedness of NCAA division I schools overall fell below 4.0 on a 5.0 scale, indicating that significant efforts are underway but important gaps remain. Furthermore, some athletic conferences reported scores below 3.0, indicating very limited progress. There were no statistically significant differences based on geographic location, conference membership, student enrollment, presidential disaster experience, and type of institution. These findings oppose the geographic proximity, temporal proximity, size of organization, and ownership of organization (private vs. public) as influential factors for COOP proposed by Dunaway (2010) and Woodman (2007). Athletic departments should be concerned with the perceived lack of COOP preparedness. Specifically, there is a need for improvement in training and exercises which support the previous studies of Beckman (2006) and Baker, et al. (2007). NCAA stakeholders need to address gaps and aid policy makers in the implementation of standard COOP measures. In conclusion, athletic departments should review and adhere to FEMA’s guidelines and standard procedures for COOP preparedness.


Full Dissertation

College football stadiums are affected by game day alcohol consumption which contributes to misconduct and law enforcement activityin these venues. Alcohol-related misconducthas become a concern for many university officials, athletic departments, law enforcement officers, and spectators who experience problems that threaten the safety and enjoyment of all of those involved in college football games. This mixed-methods study endeavored to explore the rationales for alcohol policy at these stadiums along with whether a stadium’s location,on-campus or off-campus, start time of game, temperature, quality of opponent, and other game day characteristics affect the law enforcement figures within stadiums located in oneSoutheasternstate in the U. S.
The participants of the qualitative part of the study were facility administrators of the universities who played in the seven stadiums in the state. Reported crime and ejections were compiled from games played in those venues over three years, along with game day information compiled from box scores such as team ranking, start time, temperature, and attendance. Moustakas’ phenomenological approach was used to collect and analyze the interview data. Canonical correlation analysis and multiple 11regression analysis were implemented as the quantitative methods in considering the effect between game day variables and reported misconduct.
There are four main categories of findings. First, there werediscernable differences between factors that affect the difference in policiesbetween stadiums identified by stadium administrators. Alcohol is served in all of the sampled venues, but only three sold to the general population, while the other limited consumption to those club ticketholders or suite ticketholders. Social Cognitive Theory serves as atacitinfluence on the policy development process. Arelationship existed between policy factors and the relative numbers of reported crime and ejections, with time of game and attendance being the most significantvariablesin all models analyzed. It can be concluded that more reported alcohol-related law enforcement incidents occur within off-campus stadiumsthan on-campus stadiums, while the later the start time of game, the more incidents that occur inside a college football stadium.


Full Dissertation

The purpose of this study was to document the perceived levels of knowledge and skills of the persons responsible for sport event security management in intercollegiate athletics. The study targeted individuals responsible for event security duties, such as event management and facility operations athletic directors at Division I-A football schools (N=81). The study addressed the perceptions of their abilities, experiences, training, and education. Sixty-two percent of all respondents reported having no formal training, education, or certifications in event security management. Gaps or areas of concern in security management capabilities of athletic department staff were identified and will aid in the future development of education, training, and certification programs.


Full Dissertation

Knowing that exercises are a valuable tool for sporting venues in their training repertoire, the first purpose of this study was to implement a tabletop exercise at a Division I-A collegiate institution to evaluate the current emergency response plan. The second purpose of the study was to highlight deficiencies, areas of concern, and ideas for improvement in the current emergency response plan and to make recommendations for policy and procedure changes as well as identify the party responsible for any such changes. The researcher found that participants in the tabletop exercise rated themselves as having a significantly higher level of awareness and perception regarding emergency response at the institution's home football games in the post-test than in the pre-test. Additional results from the tabletop exercise included the identification of areas of concern, primarily communication, and recommendations for improvement, such as naming the person responsible for making changes to emergency plans.


Full Dissertation

The purpose of this study was to establish standards for effective security management of university sport venues. The researcher developed standards through a series of interviews and a Delphi study. Importance ratings for standards were also assessed. Purposeful sampling was used to select participants for both the interviews and Delphi panel. Four sport security personnel participated in the interview process and an initial set of standards were developed and used for the Delphi study. The 28 member Delphi panel included the athletic facility manager, campus police chief, local sheriff, and local emergency management director responsible for game day security operations at seven state-supported universities in Mississippi. A total 134 standards in eleven categories were determined by the researcher. These included: Perimeter Control, Access Control, Credentialing, Physical Protection Systems, Risk Management, Emergency Management, Recovery Procedures, Communications, Security Personnel, Training, Modeling, and Simulation, and WMD � Toxic Materials Protection.


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