The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) is established at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and is the world’s leading academic research institution in addressing sports safety and security risks and threats. NCS4 is partially underwritten by grants from the United States Department of Homeland Security and functions with the ambitious mission of conducting innovative research, provide training, enhance professional development, and assess security solutions to support the advancement of safety and security throughout the world.

The research and educational mission of NCS4 is accomplished by working in close partnership with industry professionals, researchers and academics, and national and international government agencies to develop and deploy practical performance improvement tools and applications that bolster the capacity of practitioners to respond effectively to the current and future safety and security challenges and issues.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States Department of Homeland Security identified sport venues as potential soft targets for terrorism. In 2006, USM established NCS4 in response to the United States’ emerging security needs. Today, NCS4 is the nation’s only research center devoted to the study and practice of spectator sports safety and security. It is a cornerstone in the scholarship arena as it represents USM’s innovative approach to research, training, and development.

The idea for NCS4 emerged from a 2006 doctoral dissertation about the standards required for effective security management at university sport venues. Building upon this fundamental research, NCS4 is now an international research and education center for sports safety and security. NCS4 collaborates with professional sport leagues and venues, intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics, marathon and endurance events, and international sporting events along with professional associations, private sector firms, and government agencies. Its partnerships bring together subject matter experts from government, industry, public safety, private enterprise, and academia to explore lessons learned and share ideas about best practices, strategies, training and certifications, and technology solutions for sport safety and security challenges.

Since its inception, NCS4 has played a critical role in helping the ever-growing U.S. sports industry through thought leadership, professional development, and sponsorship of industry and academic forums. NCS4 promotes research, scholarship, and sports safety and security solutions through annual forums, professional certification programs, academic research, training, assessments, laboratory evaluations, and partnerships.

Through its cutting-edge research, scholarship, thought-leader summits and annual forum, NCS4 employs research-based methodologies to develop industry best practices, quality training programs, capstone exercises, technology assessments, workforce competencies, and professional development offerings.

Our team has extensive experience in sports management, homeland security, emergency management, incident response, professional development, research, education, and training. Combining operational perspectives with collaborative research and education, NCS4 contributes expertise in translating lessons learned into best practices, professional competencies, research, and tested and validated technology solutions in safety and security.