|Photo: Pixabay/Public Domain
A court storming is a unique and exciting aspect of college basketball.
The jubilant moments shared on the court with friends, family and fellow fans after your team’s monumental victory are priceless. But court stormings have come under fire in recent years for being dangerous and unnecessary. We’ve all probably seen a “bad” court storming where a small number of people are pushed around, sandwiched and/or injured.
Kansas State defeated arch-rival – and nationally-ranked – Kansas 70-63 on Monday night at home in Bramlage Coliseum. This was the first time the Wildcats have won consecutive games over the Jayhawks in more than 30 years. All that taken into account, everyone had to have known a court storming was imminent. I mean, the outcome of the game was pretty much a forgone conclusion with 20 seconds left on the clock. Yet, when the court storming occurred, reports surfaced that Kansas coach, Bill Self and a Kansas player were pushed around by the mass of humanity. This sparked outrage and calls for the tradition’s banishment for about the millionth time.
Many on social media took the easy way out and immediately blamed the “wild and crazy” fans. College basketball analyst, Seth Davis, said on Twitter that there was no need to storm the court but just cheer in your seat. Some others said that court storming should be allowed, but there should also be a 30 second delay after the game to get the visiting team off the court. As I perused through the commentary on Twitter, I noticed an argument that was noticeably absent: what about having a competent security staff with a solid and proven plan in place to protect players and coaches?
I watched the court storming events unfold on Monday night and a security presence was non-existent near the team bench areas as well as along the sideline where the teams usually walked to shake hands after the game. One camera shot showed Self walking off the court with zero security walking with him. I also saw several camera views of the court storming that showed supposed “security” or event staff personnel running onto the court not only at the same time as the fans but in the same direction, on the opposite side from the team benches. News flash: that’s not going to work. For the many teams I’ve seen so court stormings, arena security personnel have a very successful plan to protect players and coaches. What I saw at Bramlage Coliseum on Monday was a complete breakdown of security by, in my opinion, either an unprepared or incompetent security team.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for coach and player safety. However, saying that it’s almost entirely the fans’ fault and taking away one of the unique aspects of college basketball is what’s truly dangerous and uncalled for.