Around the Hill: How acceptable is storming the court in college basketball?

Andrew Vojt, Managing Editor

Nothing gets me more hyped than seeing hundreds of rabid fans rush from the stands to the court to commemorate the accomplishment of the season: a big upset. The excitement and energy in the arena is palpable. The fans, kept on the edge of their seats the entire game from the surprisingly good play of their schoolmates, want nothing more than to release that energy in a common space. We were blessed this weekend with the upset of the top two ranked teams and the court-storming that ensued. With all this being said, court-storming gets its appeal from its novelty. How many times does an unranked team take down a No. 1-ranked opponent? Court-storming should only be kept to those truly improbable upset wins at the risk of becoming overused and stale. Of course, improbable is a subjective measure, and context is key, but expectations need to be set as such. A team generally needs to play at excellent caliber in order to continually win games. Such high level of play should give teams the confidence they need in order to defeat anyone, even a No. 1-ranked team. Fans should acknowledge this confidence. If you know your team has the skills to be good, then it shouldn’t be a surprise when they take down a higher-ranked team.

Additionally, no team should celebrate beating a team ranked lower than fifth. Apart from those cream of the crop teams that distinguish themselves at the top, any team is vulnerable to poor play on a given gameday. I’m giving more leniency to mid-major schools and those with records below .500 due to greater statistical improbability. That being said, you should bet any money I’ll be rushing for center court when the Raiders take down a No. 7 team at Cotterell Court.

David Minster, Maroon-News Staff

 Storming the court is one of the greatest traditions in sports, but should be allowed in only a few circumstances. The crowd should only be able to storm the court after a buzzer beater or winning the NCAA Tournament. If the crowd stormed the court after every rivalry matchup, the tradition would lose its value. Sadly, the NCAA frowns upon court storming and fines schools for taking part. After Auburn upset No. 14 Kentucky in mid-January and the crowd celebrated by storming the court, Auburn was fined $50,000. During a few court stormings in the past, people have gotten hurt, which the NCAA wants to prevent as much as possible. In December, a reporter broke his leg after the fans stormed the court at an Iowa State game. While the NCAA wants to minimize the dangers of court storming, it is just a part of the game they can’t take away. The energy of the crowd after a big game is too big to be contained in the small arena seats. The only way to truly celebrate is on the court with the team, the reporters and the fans. The NCAA makes a strong argument after the recent incident of the columnist breaking his leg, but if you can’t handle the intensity of storming the court, don’t go on the court. If you want to safely celebrate, stay in your seat and celebrate with your posse. Unfortunately, you won’t be there with me because I’ll be at center court lifting one of the players on my shoulders.

Ian Beck, Maroon-News Staff 

Storming the court has been a long-standing college basketball tradition for schools that upset and take down highly ranked opponents. It is a fun tradition, but sadly it is a tradition that is outdated and needs to end. In the past, crowd control was non-existent even in professional sports. Flash back to Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home run, and you will see him running the bases with two fans. But there is a reason why almost all other sports have banned fans from being on the field or court, and it is because it is nonsensical, in poor taste and dangerous. Esteemed coaches like Roy Williams of UNC have pulled their players off the court so they do not have to wade through crowds of running and screaming fans. There really is no reason to storm the court. College students just want to be on television and jump around and celebrate with the team. But they are spectators, and there is no reason they cannot cheer for their school from the stands where they are supposed to be. Finally, court storming is in bad taste. Court storming is not because you won a championship or a title in almost all cases. It is just because you beat a better team. There should be a level of respect between the teams therefore, and as a result there should be no need to show poor sportsmanship since it is just a regular season game. In the end, there is no significant need for court storming; it is not in any other sport, why should it still exist in college basketball?