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Quick Thoughts: Rushing The Court

  • A lot has been made of rushing the court this year. It's become a favorite discussion topic for announcers and has recently become something to vent about for losing coaches in their press conferences. It's an exciting event, but there have been concerns raised about the safety of players, fans, and fans during these chaotic scenes. The court rushing topic probably reached its height when Coach K (Duke) complained about how fans rushed the court after his team was upset by Virginia. Given this, it seemed like now was as good of a time as any to take on the topic.

    Before I give my perspective, let me preface by saying that I have never rushed a basketball court. I have rushed a football field (Ohio State in 2011), but not a basketball court. In fact, the last time Michigan fans even rushed the court was against UConn in 2010 and even at the time, people questioned whether rushing was a good decision. This was due to UConn's performance up to that point and whether they merited a rushing of the court. As the season unfolded, it become obvious that they did not deserve the rush. Either way, this is not an area where I have had personal experience.

    Despite not having the experience, it's pretty obvious that rushing the court is a tremendous experience for fans and the team. Could you imagine a great college upset without rushing the court? It's something that's special and really takes a win to another level. There's no doubt that it's not an experience every fan wants, but if they don't want the experience, they can easily just remain in the stands. For visiting fans, it's a punishment for their team losing. And for opposing players and coaches, it's probably even worse.

    But what about the threat of injuries to teams, staff, and fans? For the most part, these seem to be wildly overblown. There is no doubt that there's a chance for injuries, but that doesn't mean it's a legitimate chance for injuries. A man walking down the street could be hit by lightning, but that's not going to stop him from going to get his mail. Has a player been injured by a court rush? Yes, but not nearly the number made out by the media. In fact, even in the court rush against Duke earlier this week, no player was injured. And on top of this, there were articles out about how a fan in a wheelchair was able to rush the court when NC State beat Duke this year. If a fan in a wheelchair can make it on the court without problems, it doesn't seem logical for the staff to complain.

    The final factor that is routinely discussed is the rise in frequency of court rushes this year. Court rushes are up. Even look at Michigan, who has been involved in a court rush already twice this year (Wisconsin, Penn State). They're occurring more often, but why? Is it because, as the media claims, that rushing isn't "special" anymore? There are always going to be a few court rushes like Michigan's rush of UConn in 2010, where it doesn't make that much sense, but most of them have been worthy. Illinois rushing after a defeat of #1 Indiana? Wisconsin beating #4 Michigan in overtime? Butler beating Gonzaga at the buzzer in their first home top 5 game in school history? How are these not worthy rushes?

    It seems more logical to believe more court rushes are occurring because the top teams just aren't as good this season. If the top teams don't lose, there aren't going to be that many court rushes. Right now, they are losing, and losing pretty often. This week's AP top 5 have a combined 16 losses and will have 17 once the Miami - Duke game ends. The bigger part of this is that 11 of these losses came against teams that were unranked at the time. What's ironic is that typically the criteria for rushing the court is an unranked beating a top 5 team. The court rushes are happening more often, but it's has more to do with the types of losses than a permanent conceptual change.

    The bottomline is that we don't need the NCAA to come in and attempt to minimize or shut down court rushing. Creating ways to make it safer is one thing. For instance, doing things like lining up staff to surround players or asking fans to wait until players leave the court is one thing, but attempting to ban rushing just doesn't make sense. It's something special that makes the college game great. The last thing we need is to make college basketball more like the NBA.

    NC State's C.J. Leslie saves wheelchair-bound

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- Will Privette, a pretty good dancer who was born with no right shinbone, went to bed early the night before the Duke game. Early meaning 1 a.m., three or four hours before his normal Friday bedtime. But he couldn't sleep. It was like the night before Christmas. Duke was 15-0, ranked No. 1 in the nation, the most hated team in college basketball, and later that day they would visit PNC Arena to face the N.C. State Wolfpack, supported by Privette and their howling fans.


    Coach K adamant about player safety in court

    Rushing the court has been a staple this season in college basketball. And why not? These days, top-5 teams on the road are dropping like flies, leading to what seems like a weekly occurrence. The Duke Blue

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/03/01/coach-k-adamant-about-player-safety-in-court-rushes/1955703/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A UsatodaycomSports-TopStories (Sports - Top Stories)

    Basketball Analyst For BTPowerhouse & Wolverine 247 - Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tbeindit

  • Generally, I agree. Let the students enjoy their team. No question the home team needs to provide adequate security and protocols to minimize any risk of a problem, but life isn't risk free. When was the last time Coach K complained about his own players mobbing one of their own teammates who just won a big game with a buzzer beater? Also, if Coach K is so concerned about a nasty incident happening between his team and an opponents' fans, maybe he shouldn't trade F bombs with them as he walks off the floor. He's 66. It's time he grew up.

    This post was edited by MrWoodson 16 months ago

  • I just don't know where i stand on this. I think its fun for the fans and all but I do think something really bad is going to happen from rushing the court at some point.

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  • SEC already has fines in place is the home teams rush the court and no doubt that will expand to other conferences.

  • Bad things happen all the time in life. Planes crash but we still fly. Nerlens Noel blew out his knee but we still play basketball. The question is whether this activity inherently entails an unreasonable level of risk and/or if we aren't taking all reasonable steps to prevent injuries. Students have been storming courts (and football fields) for decades and the number of serious injuries has been small. In fact, if you look at soccer, many of the worst injury situations have been caused by stadiums erecting barriers to prevent storming the field and fans being crushed against those barriers. They should absolutely implement protocols to make it as safe as possible, but beyond that it's not some ultra dangerous activity that must be stopped at all cause. It's just a bunch of excited and happy kids who want to celebrate. And they are doing it in a positive way (i.e. no burning couches, no rioting, no looting).

    This post was edited by MrWoodson 16 months ago

  • Of course you can't take all risk out of life but somethings are just not necessary. Like i said i am not sure where i stand on it but rushing the court might be an unnecessary risk. I am not worried about some accidental injury occuring from it. When I say something bad is going to happen i can see a group of fans attacking opposing players or something.

    This post was edited by WillyWolverine 16 months ago

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  • Well, we do a lot of things every day for enjoyment that are risky but aren't technically necessary, so I guess it depends on what your definition of necessary is. Life isn't risk free. Some people believe riding a motorcycle is worth the risk, other people don't. Something tells me the people storming the court believe it's well worth any risk to them.

  • Sure if you can get the opposing teams players off the court first then fine. I am sure they would tell you it isn't worth the risk to them.

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  • Agree. Security and protocols are the key. But AFAIK no D-1 CBB player or coach has ever been seriously injured in a court storming. Some fans have been injured. And a female player (not sure what sport or whether it was the home or away team). But it's not like there's a long list of serious injuries to opposing teams' players we can really point to as a problem. Something tells me this is mostly Coach K getting old and cranky and less tolerant of other teams' fans celebrating when they upset Duke. As I said earlier, if this really was about the safety of him and his players, he and his assistant coach Jeff Capel wouldn't be trading obsenities with hyped up college kids as they head to the locker room. That's bound to exacerbate whatever security issues already exist. Just keep your mouth shut and walk off with dignity and composure. And at least the appearance of good sportsmanship.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by MrWoodson 16 months ago

  • Court rushing in hoops seems a lot less dangerous than rushing the field in football where getting from the stands on the field often involves drops and obstacles. In basketball arenas the lower levels practically are all but on the court anyway. That NC State wheelchair guy basically wanted to go himself and that's the risk he decided to take, being a grown adult and all.

    I think Coach K is a terse little weird man, great coach but as a persona you can't help but think he's a bit off.

  • It's not completely safe but its not an extreme hazard either. The security at the event really just need to protect the opposing team and get them off the court. You can't wait til they are safe because then it wouldn't be rushing the court or storming the court. It's one of those things where they will just have have to make a decision and stick with it. I'm not really against it myself, I'm against some of the unnecessary ones where you need to act like you been there before. The Virginia Duke one comes to mind. Virginia has had a pretty good team last few years and they celebrate knocking off a team that already has several losses this year and it wasn't on a last second Wisky type shot either. And to add to this, programs need to educate their players on how to handle this in a hostile arena as well if they haven't already done so. That' way provoking fans don't get a player caught up in an unfortunate situation

    This post was edited by Jordan11 16 months ago