Weather the court storm

By Jacob Troxell (@trox3) and Imoleayo Alabi
Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer
03/05/2015

It’s fun and brings excitement to a college campus, but one day someone is going to get hurt because of it.

Court storming has always been a part of college basketball.

On Saturday, the Salisbury University men’s basketball team won their first CAC title since the ’95-’96 season by one point with less than one second left. After the final buzzer, students charged onto the court in no organized fashion, celebrating the enormous win.

Last week Kansas State University beat the University of Kansas in a nationally televised rivalry matchup, where despite security efforts, Kansas state fans poured onto the court, body checking a Kansas player, pressing Kansas coach Bill Self against the scorer’s table and yelling profanities at other Kansas players.

Court storming doesn’t happen in every arena every single year, but safety needs to be a priority when it does happen.

The NCAA, as well as any other association, shouldn’t wait to step in until someone gets hurt before the necessary safety precautions are taken.

Right now the South Eastern Conference is the only group of schools that implements a tiered fining court-storming protocol. There should be a straightforward protocol nationwide in all college and high schools.

Sometimes the fines aren’t even enough to enforce safety either.

Last year, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said once he realized they were going to be fined for not following protocol after beating the University of Kentucky, he ran down onto the court and “enjoyed every dollar.”

Not even university presidents are taking the issue seriously.

There have already been several ugly court storming incidents that have not garnered the same attention as the Kansas State incident.

Last year a New Mexico State player started throwing punches at Utah Valley fans who stormed the court and in 2004 Tucson High player Joe Kay, a Stanford recruit, suffered a torn carotid artery and a stroke after getting stomped on by students, which has left him paralyzed on one side of his body since.

These are perfect examples of how important it is to have an orderly flow of students storming the court.

Security should be able to limit the areas where students can rush onto the court so that nobody is jumping over anything or trampling over people. This will allow them to celebrate with their team after the opposing team has a chance to leave the court.

When everyone runs onto the court at once is when chaos strikes.

The way the University of Maryland handled their court storming after a victory over Wisconsin last week is how other schools should conduct their own court storming. Maryland let both sides begin shaking hands before anyone got onto the court, only allowed certain entry ways for students onto the court and also blocked off students from interfering with the handshake and the opposing team exiting.

Someone could have easily been hurt on Saturday when SU students jumped over rows of seats in a free-for-all to storm the court.

It shouldn’t take someone getting seriously injured on a bigger stage, or for another major fight to break out before we look at court storming as a serious safety concern.

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