NCAA College Basketball: Storming The Court: Can NCAA College Basketball Exist With It or Without It

on March 07 2013 10:08 AM

 

Trending is the new media, online-tech term today in describing what is hot on the minds of masses of people. “Storming the Court” is trending now and it is hot! 

“Storming the Court” was already at a fevers pitch as this season produced the phenomenon at the highest levels ever and the season is not over yet. Last year the Atlantic Coast Conference, (ACC) had one occurrence of “Storming the Court during the 2011-2012 season  and as of last week Duke alone has had four and there has been eight currently for the ACC overall. The ACC has so many quality teams with high national rankings and reputations that when a so-called underdog beats a team that has a high ranking or one better than their home opponent they are tipping ground for a court storming.

On Thursday March 28th, 2013, Virginia played a great game against a very good Duke team. Unfortunately the Blue Devils were without a key player because of injury, Ryan Kelly, who would return the following game to score 36 points against a tough Miami University team. Despite that fact the Virginia students “Stormed the Court” after that game. I guess any win against Duke in basketball is a great win. 

Duke’s Coach Mike Krzyzewski was critical of the storming of the court by the Virginia student body because he came face to face with some harsh realities for the safety and security of his players that was lacking during this latest of four court stormings his team had to deal with this ACC season. Coach Krzyewski was criticized or waiting so long before speaking on storming and accused of maybe trying to gain some benefit for his program and their players. This accusation is not indicative of the way Coach K conducts business. Maybe the answer is winning all their games and the opponents can not storm the court.

Over forty years ago UCLA did win all their games. Starting from the beginning of their 1971-72 season until halfway through their 1973-74 season they won 88 consecutive games. Coach Digger Phelps and his Notre Dame Basketball team stopped the Bruins historic run. Oh, by the way there was a storming of the court.

Dwight Clay hit a last second in the corner and the mighty Bruins could not covert three last second shot attempts around the basket to stave off the loss. The Bruins were the defending national champions. It was a victory to celebrate, major history had taken place and nothing was planned. It was a spontaneous combustion.  The feat was so unbelievable; the emotions ran so deep . . . a release! It was a celebration of a golden moment.

Now the world of college basketball has changed. Ideas, concepts purpose, respect and the amount of money involved and the game itself has changed. Social networking, technology and plenty of TV games, I guess the only question is has “Storming the Court” changed college basketball for the better? The more pressing issue is will college basketball be better off if court storming stays or goes out of the bowels of the essence of college basketball.

There have been a few recent cases that may point towards stopping “Storming the Court” in its tracks. There was a post game celebration at North Carolina State after a win against Duke on January 12, 2013. During the celebration Will Privette, a wheelchair bound, NC State student was knocked over during the court storming. He was eventually lifted to safety by a Wolf Pack player C.J. Leslie. In another incident where Duke was upset by the Maryland Terrapins 83-81, the Maryland University students/fans rushed the court resulting in a student falling and being trapped under a chair by the wave of fans.

Some people believe “Storming the Court” is good for college basketball. The fans celebrating their team and school’s victory is a good thing. Many students feel empowered when they get to storm the court after all it is fun and it means their team has won and they have in some way been a part of the team’s victory. Another added incentive today when you “Storm the Court” and if you are fortunate you could see yourself on ESPN, or the local news. You could be on YouTube, become famous on Face Book and be the trended tweet across the country if the scenario is crazy enough. 

When the students at Notre Dame ran out on the court after their team victory over the mighty UCLA Bruins at the time it was earnest and free flowing to a record breaking moment in men’s college basketball history, one still revisited whenever March Madness is approaching or in action. 

Today's standard for “Storming the Court” has been reduced to . . . We won three games in a row, the first time in school history … we beat the second place team in our league and we are in sixth place. If a university wanted to they could target an upset potential game and give the okay for “Storming the Court”. If they win it will be a win, win, after all it could be good for business or is it?     

“Storming the Court” started out much like cutting down the nets did. Teams who won an NIT championship, (when it represented the national championship or now the NCAA national championship), would cut down the nets after they won it all. Over the years you began to see teams cut down the nets if they won an NCAA regional playoff. The cutting down of the nets was reduced to a team winning a game in March Madness. Next, cutting the nets down digressed to a conference championship or a conference tournament championship. Finally, teams are cutting down nets for third place in the conference or for outscoring their opponent by twenty points or more. You get the drift?

I do not want a net if it is not for the championship of the whole thing! I do not want to storm the court because we finally beat a team after 10 years. Why are students/fans “Storming the Court” one week and that very same team you stormed the court on beats you by 30 points the very next game in the same season. If you have to “Storm the Court” do it because you have done what literally hundreds of schools should be aiming for each season being the best they can be going after and winning the national championship. 

Coach K., saw safety and security of players being compromised based on his recent statements after his team’s loss to Virginia. Others have identified the potential for tragedy as the number of “Storming the Court” occurrences are escalading. What about the legal liability question, who will be responsible, the university, students, other fans? Should there be “Storming the Court” insurance coverage, etc…?

Whenever large crowds of people come together with one side against the other side there is always a potential that a tragedy can take place. The first question that will always come to mind will be could that situation have been avoided? Was the activity necessary in the whole scheme of things?  

Another area of concern among college students is the intoxication issue that unfortunately permeates college campuses. The more the number of “Storming the Court” increases will intoxication be in play which could increase the possibility for accidents or calamities to occur, is food for thought.

One solution that would allow for the students to immediately celebrate their teams monumental win over an opponent is to not storm the court but put on a celebration while the student-athletes are having to line up for each team to do their sportsmen team hand shake which is required after each game win or lose. The cheerleaders and the school band could rev up the student section they can shout and celebrate right in the face of the losing team. The opposing players will not like it and I am sure they will keep this celebration in mind the next time they meet team but at least the fans were able to put in their two cent while everyone involved is safe.

Most important the television media will still be on hand and the potential for which school puts on the most creative and /or best “Celebrating The Win” expression will still have all the coverage one gets on “Storming the Court” and the opponent is forced to hear it all.

Whether it is “Storming the Court” or if “Celebrating The Win” becomes the new mantra for celebrating the reason for either should have NCAA championship title implications or a win that equals that of a David defeats the giant Goliath with a sling shot as told  in the Bible. Maybe lightning will strike twice, maybe three times but not after mediocre wins just to have fun. “Storming the Court” does not help the college basketball game when done unnecessarily and none of the participants, coaches; neither players, (home and away) nor the fans are really safe during the “Storming the Court” process. The college game can exist without it.