Recently, there has been a major issue pertaining to players’ and coaches’ safety in Men’s College Basketball. On February 28, 2013, the Duke Blue Devils were upset by ACC rival Virginia Cavaliers at Virginia’s home court, the John Paul Jones Arena.
This extremely surprising upset caused Virginia fans to storm the court. In this common college basketball trend, the fans run out on to the court to celebrate a home team’s win, especially if it is an upset. During the pandemonium of the rush of fans, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said that he and his players felt threatened. Krzyzewski got into an altercation with a fan. Duke forward Mason Plumlee said that fans were threatening to beat him up. After the game, Coach Krzyzewski said that fans need to be restricted before storming the court.
I think that Krzyzewski has a point. While fans have every right to storm the court, player safety should come first. The NCAA needs to make rules and regulations to restrain the fans for a small period of time. The opposing team should be given time to clear off the court and make their way to the locker room. After the opposing team has fully cleared off the court, security guards would let the fans storm the court.
If the opponent is not given time to clear off, injury can happen. The oncoming rush of people could knock someone over. A player could easily trip and sprain an ankle. Fans could also intentionally hurt an opponent by kicking and punching. At NCAA games, it is not uncommon to find drunk or near-drunk fans. These fans act without thinking and could hurt a player or coach.
Many fans may also start to talk trash to the opponent, as in Krzyzewski’s case. A player or coach may say something back, which could easily lead to a fight with a drunk fan. The NCAA could then suspend the player or coach for fighting. All of these scenarios are unfortunate, and could be avoided.
Although a player or coach is responsible for their actions, the fans need to be controlled, too. Right after a devastating loss, a player or coach may do or say things they normally wouldn’t because they are angry. If the fans are held back, numerous problems could easily be avoided. It would only take about 20 seconds, too.
The fans should still be allowed to storm the court, though. Storming the court is a tradition that displays college spirit and pride. It is a crucial part to the joy of college basketball. Just a few rules could prevent injury and suspension.
If a team lost one of their players to injury or suspension, their opportunity for success would be blocked. In my opinion, storming the court is a great tradition that needs to be preserved, while also not putting players or coaches in harm’s way.