Court stormings are fun and exciting for fans, this cool little thing that we have in college basketball that you don’t find in other sports.
A big win on a home floor means that the students get to celebrate at center court with the players they spent the last two hours cheering for.
But they’re also dangerous.
On Thursday night, a writer for the Des Moines Register suffered a compound fracture in his leg while Iowa State fans stormed the floor following their thrilling, come-from-behind win over in-state rival Iowa.
At least Randy Peterson is taking it in stride:
This should be it.
This should put an end to court storms, at least in this form.
What more needs to happen?
Do we need to see fans get arrested because they targeted rival player, running and jumping into him after a win? Oh wait, that happened last season. Do we need fans to get into a brawl with the visiting team? Oh, that happened two years ago. Do we need to see a kid in a wheelchair get dumped onto the floor only to have C.J. Leslie save him from getting trampled? Because that happened, too. And now a guy just trying to do his job is in the hospital because his leg was literally snapped in half during a court storm.
When will enough be enough?
I don’t want to be the fun police, but court storms are not fun for everyone. Look, I’ve been stuck between the student section and the court when it was obvious that a court storm was coming. It’s not a fun place to be. I haven’t seen any compound fractures, but I have seen a cameraman get trucksticked by a wall of students, his left shoe the only thing left behind. I’ve seen the tables at press row get flipped as kids try to make their way to the floor, discarding the monitors and laptops that were sitting on them. It’s not hyperbole to call a court storm a stampede, and anyone that’s seen The Lion King knows what can happen in stampedes.
But I also get it.
That resonates with me.
If I didn’t have to file a story during the court storms I’ve seen, I’d probably be out there, too.
So I don’t want to get rid of them, but something needs to change. Here’s what I proposed last year: If fans storm the floor before the visiting team has safely left the court, then the home team forfeits the game. Once visiting coaches and players are off the court and away from the masses, storm away.
It’s really that simple, because no fan would be stupid enough to storm early if it would, ya know, vacate the win. It’s a rule that would never be broken and a punishment that would never need to be enforced that, at the same time, doesn’t eliminate court storms from the game. It would avoid the stampede that comes at the buzzer, allowing the people that are in front of the student sections to be somewhere else, and prevent interactions between players that just lost a game and (probably) drunk fans from rival teams.
And it wouldn’t get rid of court storms.
*UPDATE: My buddy Gary Parrish at CBS Sports made a good point: You can’t identify who is a fan of what team, and if a court storm causes a forfeit, then it would be a great way for rogue road fans to try and earn their team a win:
To that I say this: Security is going to be able to handle a rogue fan or a handful of rogue fans that are trying to force a forfeit, which is to say nothing of the entirety of the student section that would probably be able to see right through what that kid or group of kids is trying to do.
As conniving as that plan would be, I’m having a hard time envisioning a realistic scenario where it would actually happen, unless it’s Adrian Peterson trying to storm the floor with Todd Gurley.