I’m convinced that if aliens are studying humanity on Earth, they’re confused by two things that involve sports fans: The wave, and storming the court or field after college basketball and football games.
I know I am, and I’m not even an alien.
At first, I believed Kansas coach Bill Self was overreacting to the storming of the court by Kansas State students after the Wildcats’ 70-63 win over the No. 8 Jayhawks on Monday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
But after watching video from the scene. Self was right in criticizing the students. And hopefully other coaches and administrators from across the country will chime in.
I was in the middle of writing a column on deadline, so I didn’t see much of what was going on. Immediately after the final buzzer, though, I saw K-State ushers and security people attempt to get control of the court. But to no avail. The students overwhelmed them and flooded the floor.
They pushed forward and eventually knocked Self into Kansas State coach Bruce Weber for what must have been an awkward embrace. One student bumped into Kansas forward Jamari Traylor with what seems to have been intent. I’m sure other KU players felt threatened and uncomfortable.
The Kansas players had no time to escape the rush and get to the locker room because they were attempting to shake hands with K-State players.
There are a few ways we can go here to avoid this kind of mess, which could have turned into something a whole lot worse Monday night.
We can ban court and field rushes and penalize schools that don’t do a good-enough job enforcing the ban. I would even entertain the idea of incremental penalties for first, second and third offenses, with the forfeiture of wins being in the mix for a third offense.
I get it that students, in particular, have an emotional investment in games. And anytime Kansas State and Kansas play, those emotions are spiked. Here’s a guess – just a guess – that not every K-State student in the crowd Monday night was sober. And it’s hard for me to think of anything worse than drunk students on a floor after a game, especially students that have a hatred for the opposing team.
Getting the Kansas players and coaching staff immediately to their locker room after Monday’s game would have been a wise move. Everybody knew what was coming, yet the Jayhawks hung around for the post-game handshake. I’m all for sportsmanship, but the prudent thing to do Monday night would have been to get KU off the floor as quickly as possible. I’m surprised K-State game officials didn’t make that happen.
The bottom line is that it’s time for these storming incidents to disappear. Students and fans in general don’t belong on the floor, ever. Not before, during or after a game. Ever.
It should not be that difficult to eliminate these court and field rushes. It takes a collective mindset among college athletic administrators and perhaps even the NCAA. Rushing the floor or the field after a big win isn’t good for anyone.
Let’s stop talking about banning these ridiculous and faked show of emotions and sink our teeth into finding a solution. Mandate penalties for schools whose students rush the field or court after wins. Make them increasingly severe for multiple offenses.
Lip service doesn’t get it done. The “kids will be kids” excuse doesn’t apply here. Kids don’t need to be idiots. And while I’m sure most of the K-State students who rushed the floor after Monday’s win behaved themselves, a few didn’t. And it only takes one to create a crisis.
Stop this nonsense. Now.