HCS Op-Ed: Has Kansas State & the Big 12 Forced College Basketball’s Hand on Court Storming?

Court storming has been a tradition in college basketball for many years. It has become known as an iconic image for the sport. But recent criticism has harmed the image of Kansas State and put the future of court storming in jeopardy.

While the Wildcats’ victory in the “Sunflower Showdown” should have captured the headlines, it was the incident that occurred just seconds after the conclusion of the game that caught the media’s attention. The fans rushed the court with excitement after the big win, which has been a common practice in the college basketball world for years. What made this court storming different was how it was handled by security at Bramlage Coliseum, and a few of the Kansas State students.

As the final seconds of the game ticked away, the K-State student body prepared to make a dash toward center court to celebrate with the Wildcat players. The fans flooded the court quickly and the hardwood instantly turned into a sea of purple. It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that I heard of the postgame incidents involving KU coach Bill Self and forward Jamari Traylor. This was featured as one of the lead stories on ESPN and reignited a national debate on court storming.

The media attention quickly shifted to the dangers or court storming. It seemed that overnight, K-State had established a reputation of being “classless” and “out of control.” I found this to be disappointing and unfortunate. I am a proud student of the University and I know most KSU students that are outstanding individuals. One of the things that this University prides itself on is being a family; heck the football stadium is even named Bill Snyder Family Stadium. If there is one thing I don’t want, it’s a tarnished image for Kansas State University.

Court storming needs to stay in college basketball. It makes for an exciting time for the fans and players, and it leaves them with memories that will last a lifetime. Yes, there is always a fan or two that gets out of control which can add a potential risk, but is this really worth ruining the experience for everyone? The future of court storming will depend on the actions of the students. Every time an incident occurs the NCAA will continue to become more concerned. This is where security needs to have a larger presence. It is fair to say that security staff at Bramlage Coliseum was not prepared to handle the amount of bodies that entered the court. Because of this, Coach Self and his team were not given the opportunity to complete the posts game handshakes and properly exit the court. Every arena needs to have a plan in place when it comes to court storming to ensure the protection of the opposing team. I believe that K-State will make every effort to improve the security efforts so an incident like this never happens again.

I am still bothered by the way the game ended, and I sympathize with Coach Self and the Kansas players that were treated poorly by the K-State fans. This is not what Kansas State is about, nor is it what we stand for. It’s a shame that this great win was overshadowed by the poor decision making of a few fans. All of the players deserve to be rewarded for their impressive victory. I hope that this incident will instill better judgment in students across the country. Granted, I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of court storming in college basketball, and thankfully no one was injured. But, each time this debate is brought to the table, the tipping point becomes closer to reality.

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