March is here. With it comes March Madness. Games become more and more important and teams are playing with more intensity than ever. It is the time that upsets mean more not only to the players and coaches but also the fans. Fans are almost as passionate about the game as the players are about the games that they play in. When upsets happen fans are so overjoyed with the win that they are unable to contain themselves and storm the court.
Duke University just lost to the University of Virginia. An un-ranked team beating the number 3 ranked team in the nation. An upset, just what has students and fans storm the court. Security forms a human shield protecting the Duke basketball team from getting hurt. However, that is now how Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski saw things:
“Celebrate, have fun, you know obviously you won –that’s cool. Just get our team off the court and our coaching staff before students come on. That’s what I was [upset about].
“Just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches. I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and just say [something derogoratory] or push you or hit you or whatever.”
Fans celebrate, they get excited, this is what makes college basketball college basketball. The question that Coach K brings up is the safety of coaches and players. Normally, I would not argue with the respected Coach K. This time is different. I am sure that Coach K and Duke have been court stormed before. Probably plenty of times when you think about the success of the program.
Watching video of the “storm” I notice one thing that Coach K probably did not see that many of us do, security did an incredible job of forming the human shield to keep the Duke players safe. Eventually, if you watch long enough, players and coach’s were allowed back to their locker room as security form a shield so they could get back there. Security did their job and a staff of 40 – 50 people will not stop a crowd o 3000 students running onto the court. I’m sorry, that is just not possible.
I agree with Coach K that coaches and players should be allowed to come of the court safely. They should be allowed to get into their locker rooms safely. However, his players were able to exit the arena in a safe manner. At the same time students and fans should be allowed to storm the court if you lose. That is just part of the game.
I am glad to see that Coach K has more class then Coach Roy Williams when it comes to court storming. Back in January 2012 before the final buzzer sounded at a North Carolina vs. Florida State game, Roy physically walked his players off the court to avoid being “stormed.” I won’t get into the fact that if he was so concerned about his players he would have even walked off with his 4 walk-ons that were currently playing in the game. Either way this is not the way to handle this situation either.
Court storming in college basketball will not go away. Underdogs will win, fans will celebrate, and students will storm the court. That is just part of the game. That is what makes college basketball and the month of March, great.