Sean Powers ’15
It seems almost a part of college basketball today. We see more upsets and with those upsets a lot of times the student section will rush the court. This moment is filled with a lot of excitement and thrill, but it needs to be stopped or at least fixed. Last week, New Mexico State traveled to Utah Valley in a WAC regular season matchup. The game went into overtime, but at the end Utah Valley pulled out the win 66 to 61 over the Aggies. As the game was ending guard K.C. Ross-Miller threw the ball at Utah Valley guard Holton Hunsaker. Although this in itself was bad what happened next was the real issue.
The Utah Valley student section rushed the court and they surrounded some of the New Mexico State players. 2 players, K.C. Ross-Miller and Renaldo Dixon got in fights with the students that had just rushed the court. Ross-Miller was suspended 2 games and Dixon 1 for the fight, but this incident brings out the bigger problem in college basketball. This is the second time in a month that there has been an altercation between fans and a player and the NCAA and the individual schools themselves need to do a better job controlling the fans and making it safe for the visiting teams to exit the court.
Now I am not saying court storming should stop completely because frankly it is part of the game and excitement behind college basketball, but the safety of visiting players and staff needs to come first. Another problem with students rushing the court is that it disrupts the game. 2 and a half weeks ago the Arizona State student section rushed the court too early with the game not over yet. This forced the game to be delayed for more than 5 minutes just to get all the fans off the court. Sometimes this is just a nuisance but other times it can be a real danger. The SEC has already set a rule where the home team will receive a fine if their fans rush the court. This rule has stopped court rushing in the SEC and has basically solved the problem. I do not believe schools have to go as far as a fine, but if more schools do what teams such as Virginia and North Carolina do, by creating a wall of security guards, then there would not be problems.
This separates the fans and the players on the court and most importantly it allows the visiting team to leave the court safely. If teams could at least do this then I don’t see a problem with fans rushing the court, but with incidents such as with New Mexico State, rushing the court may come to the end in all colleges like it already has in the SEC.