By Ryan Decker
College basketball is in full swing and even though conference play is still in the early stages fans have already witnessed plenty of upsets.
With upsets in college basketball come court stormings, and with each storming of the court comes the reactions from coaches and analysts alike.
Fans rushing the court comes with backlash both because of safety concerns for players, coaches and the fans, but also because of when and why fans storm the court.
Not to sound like the old man trying to ruin everyone’s fun, but court stormings happen too often.
With that said, I want to introduce the “Rules for Court Storming”, which should be followed in any college basketball arena near you.
Section 1: Rivalry games
Every team has a rival – that team they’ve played forever and hate with every bone in their body.
I’ve always contended that, no matter what, you should expect to beat your rival every time out. A win over a rival shouldn’t come as a surprise and be met with an over the top celebration.
Rule: No court storming in a rivalry game
Amendment 1a. – The lone exception to this rule is if a victory ends a 10+ year drought and it would not violate any of the other rules to follow.
Section 2: Conference opponents
Much like rivalry games, a team and its fans shouldn’t be all that surprised about beating a team in its conference.
Of course, each conference has its dominant programs. Duke and UNC in the ACC, Kansas in the Big 12, and Kentucky in the SEC all are the most glaring examples of that.
Rule: Court stormings against conference opponents should be minimal. They’re the teams your team knows best.
Amendment 2a: If the home team is in the bottom-third of the conference, and is considered a non-traditional program, and defeats a top-three team in the conference, that game can be considered “stormable.”
Example: If Tulane (3-11, 0-2) were to knock off SMU, or any of the top three teams in the American Conference, that court better be covered in green.
Amendment 2b: If the victory ends an extended losing streak against a conference opponent
Example: As shown below, when this past week Texas Tech knocked off No. 7 West Virginia in Lubbock. Red Raider fans stormed the court, and for good reason. Even though it was a conference game, it was a first time TTU defeated WVU in the regular season since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
Section 3: Clock management
Dear students of the University of Oregon,
The game isn’t over until all the time on the clock has expired. Next time a player hits a game-winning shot, make sure the game is actually over before rushing the court.
Rule: Officials on the floor must declare the game officially over before fans can be allowed on the court. Violation of this rule should be a technical against the home team and should result in two free throws for the away team and possession of the basketball.
Section 4: Games vs. Ranked Opponents
The most exciting games of the year are when a pair of ranked teams get together and duel on the hard court. The higher the rankings, the higher the stakes and intensity.
Sometimes that intensity spills onto the court, which adds to a television or radio broadcast, but it should be done sparingly as well.
Rule 1: Can’t storm the court if the home team is the higher ranked tam.
Rule 2: Can’t storm the court in a ranked vs. ranked game with fewer than 10 spots between the two teams
Rule 3: Can’t storm the court if the home team has an overall winning record and the visiting team is ranked 21-25.
Amendment 4.2: If the home team’s win would mark the first win over a Top 10 ranked team, and the home team is the lower-ranked team, then the court storming is allowed.
Section 5: Blue Bloods
It has been said about college basketball for the last few years that there is more parity in the game than ever before.
With that said, there are still the traditional programs that remain near the top of the rankings every season. These are the schools that begin every season not with the hopes of winning a championship, but with the mindset they will win the NCAA Tournament.
Students that go to the blue blood schools expect the same thing. Those that don’t, should transfer to a different school.
You don’t see Alabama football fans rushing the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Rule: As a fan, you can not storm the court if you go to any of the following schools…
Again, not to act like the old man trying to ruin everyone’s fun, but upsets are common place in college athletics, and sports in general.
What makes college sports great is the passion of the fans, who are the only fans that get to storm the field or the court after a big victory. So considering how much of a privilege it is to have the ability to truly celebrate with your favorite team just seconds after the final horn or whistle blows, don’t water down the gesture by doing it in inappropriate times.
Leave storming the court for the biggest of upsets, not for every other Tuesday and Saturday night for the next three months.