If you hate court storming, you are labeled as a grumpy old person who wants to rip the joy from the youth of America.
If you love court storming, you have a blatant disregard for human safety and probably don’t understand that actions have consequences.
As it does every spring, storming the court has once again become a topic of debate. Kansas State fans mobbed the floor of the Octagon of Doom after beating archrival Kansas. Maryland students stormed the court after knocking off Wisconsin on Tuesday night. And more are sure to follow as conference tournaments begin.
A student’s shoulder made contact with a Jayhawk player but nothing really of note happened in either case and KSU has apologized. It hasn’t stopped sports talk radio, columnists and the Twittersphere from spewing venom from one side of the isle to the other concerning the issue.
Can’t we all just get along? In our seats and on the court?
There are plenty of incidents that indicate mixing fans with the people they adore (or hate) isn’t a good idea. It’s why fans are treated so abruptly when they decide to run onto the gridiron, diamond or pitch. This is especially true for drunken young people.
However, 99.9 percent of the time in college basketball, these court stormings are totally harmless.
So in an effort to meld the old man on the porch with the young whippersnapper in the stands, I’ve created strict guidelines for storming one’s court. From here, it’s on the teams and arenas to maintain order. Penalties should be harsh.
Court Storming Rules and Restrictions
The following rules and restrictions indicate when court storming is not allowed.
1. College hoops bluebloods
Rule No. 1 is pretty straightforward. College basketball’s bluebloods are NEVER allowed to storm a court in any circumstance, so act like you’ve been there before Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Indiana and Syracuse. This list can change from over time but these programs are basically never allowed to rush the hardwood. Ever.
2. Teams ranked in the top 15
If your favorite team is ranked in the top 15, they have no business storming the court. In general, Top 15 teams are No. 4 seeds or better in the NCAA Tournament and those fans have no business streaming out onto the floor after a win.
3. Teams ranked higher than the opponent
If your favorite team is ranked higher in the polls or standings than the opponent, invading the court isn’t allowed or appropriate.
4. Teams that are favored
If your favorite team is favored in the game in question, why would you have any business running out onto the hardwood after a win? You were supposed to win the game in the first place. C'mon.
5. Recent national champions
If your favorite team has won a national title in the last 10-15 years, then storming the court shall not be permitted. National championships indicate the best of the best, so while your team may not be a “blueblood,” it’s still one of the best programs in the nation currently. Therefore, nix the court-storm. Looking at you Louisville, UConn, Michigan State, Maryland and Florida (whose fans can't really storm the court anyway).
6. During the NIT
This goes for any tournament game of any kind really — preseason or post — but is only possible in the NIT since games are played on home courts. This is the Clemson Rule after the silly Tigers rushed the floor after an NIT win a few years ago.
Court storming is a generally a fun and harmless expression of joy. So let’s not dilute the fun by rushing the floor every time we want. We are better than that, aren't we?
If your favorite teams ends a long — like more than a decade long — losing streak against an archrival or pulls a monumental upset over a top 10 opponent or clinches a championship of some kind, then rushing the floor to celebrate is perfectly acceptable.
Otherwise, act like you’ve been there before.