September 27, 2020

PCI: Should Students be Allowed to Storm the Court After Upsets?

posted on: Thursday February 27, 2020

Yes, They Should Be Allowed To

by Gavin Woods ’22

Sports Staff

In light of the recent Providence College  Men’s Basketball Team victory over Seton Hall University on Feb. 15, many are questioning whether or not student spectators should continue to storm the court. However, I do not think that this instance should be representative of the policy. Storming the court after a big win is a staple of the college basketball experience and should be continued.

Part of what makes the Dunkin’ Donuts Center such a difficult arena for opponents to face is because the PC crowd is so vocal. The best way to measure a crowd’s effect on the game is to look at how it affects the home team’s performance. Head coach Ed Cooley commented, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about how great our crowd was tonight. Our crowd helped us win this game, no question about it. I don’t know what they fed them in here tonight.”

Fans run onto the court after Providence beat Villanova University

photo courtesy of the providence journal/glenn osmundson

 

It was exactly this intense excitement that the student section showed for their Friars that made them want to celebrate this conference win. Coach Cooley offered his perspective on the premature court storming: “I know it got out of hand at the end when they thought the game was over. Hopefully we won’t get fined for that. But if we do… I’ll pay for it. It’s worth it if we’re winning.”

When Alpha Diallo ’20 was asked how the sold-out crowd at home made him feel, he replied, “It was a great moment. The storming the court is always fun, especially for the young guys. It was a great atmosphere and we fed off of it for sure.”

Banning the act of court storming would discourage the crowd’s participation. Big wins do not happen often and when they do, students should have the opportunity to celebrate with their fellow classmates. The student body should be free to celebrate with the team however they see fit, so long as it does not interfere with the game as it did this past Saturday.

Storming the court is a longstanding college tradition that has, in some cases, been deemed an essential part of the college experience. To deny students the opportunity to do so takes away the ability for students to make memories of a situation they may never find themselves in again. To put a limit on their celebration is to essentially remove students from the game, which already confines them to mere spectators. Lastly, to reiterate what Diallo said, storming the court not only energizes the fans, but also the players because they feed off the excitement in the stadium and it can be a motivating factor for the team going forward. 

Therefore, storming the court, when done correctly, should be allowed because both the fans and players love it. It is a great sports tradition that brings players and fans together.

 

No, It’s Too Dangerous

by Eileen Flynn ’20

Sports Staff

Security holds back fans from running onto the court.

Photo courtesy of Lee Luther Jr.

With unexpected outcomes comes unexpected celebrations, and for college basketball an upset at home usually calls for the students to storm the court at the final buzzer.

What might seem like harmless excitement at first can actually turn into mayhem on the court. In addition, large fines can be placed on the institution itself. Some might argue to “let the kids play,” but there have been incidents in the past that should convince any school or league to ban fans from storming the court, with no exceptions.  

Student fan sections during the game are expected to get rowdy. Indeed, they are responsible for cheering their team on when it is on a roll, as well as in charge of picking their team up when they need some momentum. Chants, signs, and themed outfits are all encouraged and express the crowd’s commitment to their school’s team. Rushing the court, however, creates a dangerous situation for students and players that can be completely avoidable. 

One of the worst cases was in 2004, when a promising high school basketball player, Joe Kay, helped his team beat their rival school with a game-winning dunk. The high school students, who had watched college court storms all their lives, were ready to celebrate the same way. Unfortunately, Kay was a victim of the chaos, being thrown to the ground before suffering a stroke which would later paralyze him on his right side.

The Southeastern Conference and the Big East have started to implement fines for teams that continue to storm the court even after being advised not to do so. However, this does not seem to stop students. A University of South Carolina announcer warned the Gamecock fans prior to their upset victory against University of Kentucky that if the students were to storm the court, the school would be fined up to $50,000. The students charged the court anyways, leaving their school to pay the large fine. 

Providence College students are all too familiar with rushing the court after their basketball team comes up with an unexpected win. This season, the team was 0.2 seconds away from beating Seton Hall University, who was sitting first in the Big East and ranked tenth nationally. With an unexpected foul, the students started rushing the court even though the game had not yet ended. Embarrassing the team and the school, the students took their time walking off the court. Providence College was issued a $5,000 fine for the unnecessary fiasco.

How do you distinguish which victory deserves a court storming? Many PC students decided the game was not worthy of storming the court and stayed in their seats at the end of the game, which was a good thing. 

Storming the court is not going to get any safer, it embarrasses the school, and in the end, is just not worth it.

 

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