Last week, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that court storming would potentially result in some of the harshest penalties one could imagine for their team, including heavy fines and a potential loss of future home games.
The latter of those two penalties is hard to imagine happening, but Bowlsby made it clear that he intends to make the safety of players, coaches, and fans a top priority moving forward.
Last season, Kansas State stormed its court after defeating rival Kansas, during which KU coach Bill Self was pinned against the scorers table and Jayhawk forward Jamari Traylor was pushed by an opposing fan.
At Allen Fieldhouse, the court just doesn’t get stormed unless fans are watching a live simulcast of the team winning a national title.
KU is the prohibitive favorite in every game it plays, and frankly, there is a level of, “we’ve been here before,” which makes beating a highly ranked opponent at home, even one that would, at the time, ranked higher than Kansas, would never result in storming the court.
Several years ago, KU defeated a solid Texas team at home in a thrilling game and a small group of students ran on the corner of the court and danced around, which immediately led to the remaining fans heavily booing their own for even attempting such a thing.
At programs such as Texas Tech, TCU, and going back to the previous version of the Big 12—Colorado and Nebraska—court storming was a high probability when Kansas would come to town. At different times over the course of the Big 12’s existence, the same could be said for Texas, Oklahoma State, and recently even Kansas State.
The idea of upsetting a highly ranked opponent is a thrilling one for fans, particularly students, but it’s also, to some level, an admission of inferiority.
Even at a school like Kansas State, which has been a contending team in the conference recently, their storming of the court when beating Kansas at home—something not uncommon during K-State’s vastly improved years—shows an attitude that they just achieved the impossible.
I would argue that celebrating without storming the court says you expected to win at home, which to me seems like the attitude of a winning program.
Often times becoming a winning program and one which garners respect means you act that way. Act like you’ve been there before.
It goes hand-in-hand, I suppose with not having been there, for the most part, but if you have a team with good players and a team which has won games, storming the court takes away from that.
Bowlsby is doing the right thing by asserting his command over the conference and its rules, however, the rules do state that it is the responsibility of the home team to ensure the safety of the court. The threat of heavy fines or losses of games should be enough to get programs to make the proper adjustments and never put the commissioner in a position have to lay down penalties on any of its members.
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