Two of the reasons everyone loves college sports are the unpredictability of each and every game and the spontaneous actions of the players and fans on a regular basis.
One of the most beloved traditions when it comes to college athletics, specifically on the gridiron and the hardwood, is watching the student body rush the field or court following an upset victory.
Unfortunately, over the past five years or so, every fan base and student section across America, especially during basketball season, feels they are entitled to rush the court whenever they choose.
Well, they’re not.
Lately it has seemed that anything above a win over Northwest Central Island State warrants an enthusiastic crowd to file from its seats to the playing surface.
Since many schools are beginning to ruin one of college basketball’s greatest and most entertaining visuals after an improbable victory, I have decided to lay out the ground rules that all schools and student sections should follow when it comes to storming the court.
Rule #1: The opposing team must be ranked in the Top 25
While beating a team like North Carolina is always a marquee victory for any school, the win shouldn’t be as highly touted if the Tar Heels are having an off year. Yes, even if you’re the College of Charleston and may only beat the Heels one time in your school’s history.
If your opponent is unranked, a court storming isn’t warranted.
Rule #2: Your team cannot be ranked in the Top 25
If your squad is receiving enough recognition and playing well enough to be nationally ranked, then you are to remain in the bleachers after a big victory.
Even if you beat a top five team on the final shot of the ball game, the excitement and jubilation you experience needs to be controlled from your seat.
With the way college basketball is these days, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that a ranked team takes down a top-tier opponent at home.
Rule #3: Schools with an NCAA Championship are not permitted to storm the floor
That’s right, I’m talking about you Indiana, North Carolina, Syracuse, and any other school rich in basketball tradition that has stormed the court.
I don’t care how bad your season has been, how much your program has suffered for years, or how good the opponent was, if you’re a school that has a banner hanging on the inside of your arena you should never rush the floor. Ever.
You should be expecting to win big games over top teams, not surprised.
Rule #4: If your team has reached the NCAA tournament three consecutive years, stay off the floor
This is a rule for some, not all schools. Really, all BCS schools should follow this rule while mid-major teams are the exception.
Typically if you’ve been able to make it to the NCAA tournament for three consecutive seasons, it means you’ve won some pretty significant games against formidable opposition, at least for those major conferences.
It is a little different story for the mid-major conferences, who could simply win three straight conference tournament championships and not have one significant win in all three seasons. If your team gets in because of good tournament play and has yet to beat a top 25 squad, feel free to rush the floor.
Rule #5: BCS schools never rush the court after a win over a mid-major conference opponent
I understand that there are some really good mid-major schools out there. Gonzaga is always a tournament team; Butler has made it two NCAA title games in the past four years; and Xavier is no stranger to the national polls.
However, even if these teams are in the top five, a team like Rutgers shouldn’t be headed to the court after a victory.
Bigger schools have more resources and typically more students. A win over a mid-major team, no matter how good, shouldn’t impress you enough to storm the court.
Rule #6: If you meet the qualifications, don’t half-ass your celebration
Now, if your team has met all of the qualifications and the game has ended up being a complete shocker to the world, run wild in celebration to experience the joy of a major victory on a national level with the players.
But when you rush the court, there is still one rule you need to follow: don’t half-ass your approach to storming the court. Not sure what I mean? Check out how bad Seton Hall fans failed in their attempt to storm the floor:
A good court-storming should look more like this:
Well done, Penn State. Well done.
If college basketball fans and student sections across the land would adhere to these simple guidelines it would bring back some of the glory and significance to the celebration that is rushing the floor.
I’m not trying to rob students of their fun, I’m trying to bring some sanity and tradition back to college hoops.