The court storm epitomizes college sports, where the excitement and passion of a collective student body fan base overwhelms the arena in a sea of school colors as they bask in the glory of the university’s achievement.
The court storm is a scene to behold and serves as a worthy culmination of an upset that swept the college basketball landscape. However, in spite of all of this magnificently conjoined celebration of a university, opposing coaches and college basketball media members often gripe about the safety concerns and the etiquette involved in court storming.
After Kansas State upset rival Kansas by a score of 70-63 on Monday, the Wildcats’ student section stormed the court. Videos showed fans bumping into Kansas players as they frantically sprinted onto to the court as well as Kansas head coach Bill Self being pinned against the scorer’s table as he attempted to leave the floor. Postgame, Self expressed his concern regarding the safety of his players and the fans as well.
“There were several students that hit our players,” Self said. “I’m not saying with a fist, but when you storm the court, you run in, you bump everybody, stuff like that. This has got to stop. Somebody is going to hit a player, the player is going to retaliate, you’re going to have lawsuits—it’s not right.”
The situation and Self’s remarks afterward re-sparked a discussion across various sports media outlets regarding the implementation of perhaps new protocol to ensure better safety.
Several outlets reiterated the possibility of eliminating court storming entirely, while others such as ESPN’s morning radio show “Mike&Mike” suggested having the student section wait about 30 seconds before rushing the floor, allotting players and the coaches the proper amount of time to shake hands.
Good luck trying to delay thousands of uncontrollably excited students for even just 30 seconds.
I would propose to do away with the postgame handshake all together when a potential court storming exists. From a sportsmanship standpoint, the coaches would surely understand this in an effort to improve safety, not to mention the fact that neither coach wants to shake hands at that point anyway. The winning coach wants to embrace the atmosphere and celebrate with his players, and the losing coach just wants to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
Beyond the aspect of safety, there are also these unwritten rules regarding a program’s history, which in turn makes storming the court amongst universities with storied programs mythically shameful.
After Maryland defeated fifth ranked Wisconsin 59-53 Tuesday night and stormed the court, ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg said, “That’s an absolutely embarrassing court storming. You’re the University of Maryland. You’ve won a National Championship.”
Yes, preach Seth! What is wrong will all these college students?! Don’t they remember the success and prestige of the Maryland program when Juan Dixon led the Terps to a national title in 2002? No? Oh that’s right these students were about 7 years old at the time, and were focused on not spilling their Lucky Charms while watching “Scooby-Doo” as opposed to grasping the future significance of Maryland’s basketball program.
These are college students looking to party and have a good-ass time who just spent the past two hours amped to the max, screaming until they went hoarse and jumping around like crazy people as they watched their Terps knock off the fifth ranked team in the country in its inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten, but let’s ask the students to please restrain themselves for a moment and consider their program’s history as well as potential safety risks.
Let’s be real here people, students aren’t going to take the time to contemplate these potential issues before storming the court. They are going to continue to live by the college code where fun is the goal and “fuck it” is the motto.
Storm on students!