By: Jesse Davis West March 22, 2018

When most people think of college football or basketball games, they might recall fond memories of tailgating with a few beers before cheering their team to victory. While most fans behave themselves within the stadium itself, there are always going to be those fans who have a little too much to drink and get too rowdy. And sometimes, these fans pose a serious danger to public safety.  

As an example, a KVUE study showed that last year 3,778 fans were ejected and 1,102 fans were arrested during NCAA football games (and those are only the ones we know about!),. At some schools it amounted to nearly 1 in every 1000 fans to attend a game. And while it’s relatively easy for event security to eject a belligerent fan, it has been nearly impossible to ensure that potentially dangerous individuals don’t just come back for the next game to cause more trouble.  

However, there is now a sure-fire way to identify when banned or formerly ejected fans attempt to enter the stadium: facial recognition. Face recognition has been called “the Holy Grail of crowd management” by The Washington Post for good reason. A face recognition system can instantly alert security the moment that someone dangerous shows up. And it isn’t fooled by facial hair, hats, wigs, glasses or other changes in appearance. The result is that it can prevent potentially dangerous individuals from entering reduce violent incidents as a result.  

It’s virtually inevitable for schools to adopt face recognition technology. Not only does it solve the problem of identifying banned fans (after all, how many faces can security personnel really remember?), it can also potentially identify individuals from terror watchlists. No one wants to think about terrorists targeting school sports games, but the truth is that they are likely attractive targets, since they may be seen as less secure than pro games.  

Face recognition can also be used to secure locker rooms and training facilities. It can not only alert security to potential stalkers, face recognition also works as a means of access control, ensuring that only athletes and authorized are allowed admittance.  

Face recognition is a transformative solution that is revolutionizing event security. While pro leagues and concert venues have already begun implementing face recognition, the NCAA should not miss out on the opportunity to secure students, fans and players by implementing this powerful technology.  

This video shows how FaceFirst can keep banned fans out of NCAA games: