Concealed Carry Handguns at Intercollegiate Football Games: Perceptions of Division I Power 5 Intercollegiate Athletic Event Directors

John Miller – University of Southern Mississippi
Todd Seidler – University of New Mexico
Jeffrey Curto – Troy University


Division I football games between Power 5 football teams are the most highly attended and emotionally intense intercollegiate sports contests. Due to the intensity of the events, previous incidents have occurred on university campuses at Division I football games in which fans exhibited violent behaviors, including shootings. While perceptions of college students, faculty, presidents, and police chiefs regarding concealed carry on college campuses have been studied, to date, no other study has investigated the concealed carry handgun perceptions of Division I intercollegiate athletic event and operation directors. The results revealed that most athletic directors considered concealed handguns at athletic events their primary spectator safety concern. Additionally, despite the majority of athletic directors’ perceptions that intercollegiate football games presented an emotionally volatile environment that was often too crowded, nearly 80% indicated that spectators had been detected carrying a concealed handgun into a game. Finally, while concealed handguns were not allowed into the stadiums due to state laws, they were permitted in the tailgating area on campus before, during, and after the games. These findings demonstrate the complex and nuanced concealed carry handgun issues that intercollegiate event athletic directors must consider.