The Kansas State faithful had every reason to be excited following their Wildcats’ 70-63 upset victory over the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks on Monday night. But as they stormed the court at Bramlage Coliseum, it’s safe to say that their celebration go out of hand. It’s one thing to flood the floor with this time honored tradition, but it’s a different story when the situation becomes unruly enough that the school’s athletic director has to apologize for the incident.
K-State athletic director John Currie said, “On behalf of President [Kirk] Schulz and K-State Athletics, I apologize to Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, Coach Bill Self and the KU basketball team for the unfortunate situation in which they were placed last night at the conclusion of our basketball game.
“…Although no one was hurt last night, we fell short of our expectations for securing the court and escorting KU to its locker room without incident. We are disappointed that we did not do better for the KU team.”
If you look at the footage, you can see that this is a serious issue. Not only were the Kansas Jayhawks engulfed in a sea of Wildcat fans, but one of them even went out of their way to check Jayhawks forward Jamari Traylor as he was trying to leave the floor. This is bad. But it probably could’ve been a whole lot worse. And therefore it begs the question: Is maintaining an established ritual worth the potential pitfalls that come with it?
The problem with court-storming, despite how cool it may look, is that it’s impossible to completely control. Try as you may to regulate the damage, it doesn’t matter. There is always the possibility that something could go wrong. And when celebrations become unruly, it could lead to unnecessary injuries. Which is exactly how Jayhawks head coach Bill Self felt about the matter.
“It’s a ballgame,” Self said. “It’s not about chicken-winging somebody when the game’s over. Hopefully they can get that corrected. It’s fine if you want to celebrate when you beat us. That’s your business. That’s fine. But at least it shouldn’t put anybody at risk.”
Personally, we love to watch the court being stormed. It’s fun to see how enthusiastic fans get when their team does something unexpected. But sometimes you have to be rational in these particular situations. And the logical move here would be to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of the players, the coaches, and rest of the staff. Even if that means turning your back on tradition. Should they ban court-storming from college basketball, we’ll certainly miss it. But just because it’s become part of the game, doesn’t mean that it is the game. And in the end, that’s what’s most important.
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