Sean Miller, who has been vocal in his opposition to court-storming, confronted the issue once more Wednesday night, this after Colorado fans stormed the court in Boulder after the Buffaloes upset No. 9 Arizona, 75-72. Arizona has now seen the opposition’s fans storm the court in 10 of its last 11 road losses.
Eventually, Miller said, an Arizona player is going to punch a fan in self-defense.
Does Miller have a point here? Should court-storming be outlawed?
“Well, I’m definitely not for it. I think (you should) act like you’ve won before,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The storming-the-court thing has been played up so much on ESPN and FOX and all the sports channels that people think it’s the thing to do when, in fact, the Kansas State/Kansas deal a year ago was not a good deal.”
Kansas State fans stormed the court after knocking off Kansas last February. Kansas coach Bill Self got trapped between the scorer’s table and a mob of K-State fans, while some Jayhawks players were actually targeted by fans and hit on purpose.
“I was at Kansas State,” said Huggins, who coached the Wildcats in 2006-07. “Those are the most wonderful people in the world. People get a little carried away, I think, at sporting events when really there’s no need to. I mean, you ought to have fun. I mean, that’s what it’s really about – is having fun. But to me, the court and field has always been for the players.”
Heck, even reporters have gotten injured during court-stormings, including Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson, who broke his leg in December after Iowa State fans stormed the court after an 83-82 win over Iowa.
What can be done to prevent this in the future?
“I think hopefully you try to educate your people,” Huggins said. “We certainly have tried to educate ours here. I think it’s the students more than it is anybody. We’ve somehow got to educate our students that they’re there to be educated, not to run out and step on somebody’s arm (or leg).”
Brandon Tierney agreed with Huggins but thinks his message will fall on deaf ears unless schools are able to “hide the kegs” from students.
“Well, let’s be brutally honest here,” Huggins said. “The kegs are the least of my problems.”
Tierney clarified his comment, explaining that kegs – and alcohol in general – fuels the lack of fan judgment, especially at that age.
“That’s why we have that guy run around with that musket,” Huggins joked, referring to the Mountaineers’ mascot. “We don’t let them bring kegs in.