It’s not a question of if, but more of when as one thinks about the possibility of a Boston Marathon Bombing happening on a College Football Saturday in your team’s stadium.
That’s right folks. It is only a matter of time before we are having to sort out this kind of terror in the midst of what should be our usual terrific tailgates and classic traditions. The only reason why it hasn’t happened yet is because those folks who like to plan and execute these types of events haven’t decided it was the proper time.
Don’t be fooled by what you believe is your safe campus or your school’s ability to have the greatest game day management team in the history of college athletics. It is the job of these crazed individuals to manufacture chaos in the middle of the calmest of days. And no matter how much one plans or how much precaution one takes, the grave reality is that this is going to happen sooner rather than later.
Yes, the NFL or MLB might have the sexy names you would think a terrorist, foreign or domestic, would have as the jewel on their crown. But when you look at the numbers of fans at a game and on a university campus in addition to the media credentialed folks in attendance, college football is primed for a massive tragedy.
Just an SEC game alone could easily have 80,000 fans stacked on top of one another with no where to go while an additional 20,000 or more could be outside the stadium or on campus. Just a regular Saturday in the South and with no warning. That’s how it happens and why it’s so terrifying. It’s not the BCS Title Game. It’s not the Super Bowl. It’s just a Saturday.
There is no doubt security teams on campus take every possible caution in sweeping the university grounds and the stadium prior to game day. But the way our gridiron cathedrals are designed, there is one way to a seat and one way out. If these people want a device or devices planted to do catastrophic destruction, they have every nook and cranny you can imagine to bring a nation and a college community to its knees.
Let’s hope and pray all of this is just worry and fodder for discussion.
But if people can figure out how to blow up a building in Oklahoma, fly planes into buildings in New York and bring a Baghdad type bombing to the streets of Boston, they already know exactly what they need to do to kill hundreds of thousands on any given Saturday in the Fall.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.