College Basketball Blog, Laws on the Court: Rushing the Court – How to Do It Right
Rushing the court is certainly not a new phenomenon and I have a theory going that fans only thought to rush the court after classic movies such as Teen Wolf, told them to.
That aside, the 2012-13 men’s college basketball season may have seen “rushing the court” officially jump the shark. The fans have overdone the act once reserved for true underdogs doing the impossible. I have been at one game where the court was rushed afterward: when an unranked Georgetown team beat a then-No.1 and undefeated Duke team. The photo at the top of the post is from my friends who had tickets to the game – I was somewhere on the floor trying to not get trampled! Even then I wondered if it was appropriate. It’s not as if the Hoyas had finally arrived (ahem, see 1984 National Championship) but it proved to be a marquee win that set the tone for the season and the John Thompson III era – Georgetown went to the Sweet 16 that year and the Final Four the following year. So, justifiable court rushing.
On January 16 of this season, then-No. 14 NC State lost on a buzzer beater to the unranked Maryland Terrapins at UMD’s Comcast Center. The students rushed the court. (Quick history lesson: Maryland won the 2002 National Championship so they are not really strangers to success) It was a mere six days later when Wake Forest hosted then-No. 18 NC State and beat the Wolfpack, 86-84, and you guessed it … rushed the court! Within one week, NC State was twice surrounded by fans from the opposing team – my heart broke a little for those guys.
Maryland rushing the court (fan perspective)
Fast forward to Saturday, February 9. There were three court rushes that I saw – in a day! Oklahoma beat No. 5 Kansas, 72-66 – the students rushed the court. Unranked Wisconsin defeated No. 3 Michigan, 65-52 in overtime – the students rushed the court. And finally No. 25 Notre Dame defeated No. 11 Louisville in a 5OT situation – the students rushed the court. Yes, there are arguments for all of these games and I’m sure every student section felt “justified’ in the court rushing. But when three are happening in a day, the act has lost its impact.
With the rushing the court phenomenon truly catching fire, I thought it best to put together some guidelines for the act.
1. Rushing the court should be reserved for defeating opponents ranked 1, 2 or 3 only
Let’s be honest, NC State should not have had the court rushed on them – and certainly not twice. The team had a double-digit ranking – certainly not the type of upset that warrants breaking all of the facility rules and running on to a court to celebrate as if a National Championship was won.
2. Rushing the court should not happen by the same fan base more than once in a season, let alone a week
Villanova defeated No. 5 Louisville and No. 3 Syracuse in back-to-back home games … and the students rushed the court … TWICE. Yes, the first win was amazing and in an otherwise lackluster season, the students probably thought it was best to take advantage of the situation. But unless they defeated an unranked No. 1 team next, there was really no argument for the second one. Sorry that you “wasted” the court rush on the lower-ranked team, but that’s the risk you take when you rush.
3. Reserve the act for something truly great
Okay, I will be the first to say that a ranked team’s fans rushing the court is a little ridiculous and obviously against my guidelines. However, I’ve never sat through a 5OT game – so, I imagine if I were a fan who had sat through 25 minutes of bonus basketball, I would be eager to run onto the court as well, so I can see why Notre Dame’s fans rushed the court. When Wisconsin beat No. 3 Michigan, it took an amazing nearly halfcourt shot to send the game to overtime – I get it. Had that shot been the gamewinner rather than the equalizer, hands down, rush the court. But it just sent it to overtime. Stay in your seats, kids.
But seriously, the buzzer beater shot by Wisconsin is pretty sick
4. Act like you’ve been there
In all the adrenaline that comes with rushing a court, the one thing that is forgotten is that it has a way of making your team look a little JV. Rushing the court should be reserved for those moments that it truly seemed impossible for an upset to happen and against all odds, SOMEHOW the underdog does it! That’s right, underdog. Just remember, the really good teams see every game as a winnable game, and therefore no games are impossible. When was the last time you saw Duke rush the court? Think what you want of the Blue Devils, but their fan base knows better.
So there you go, those are some guidelines for the next time you find yourself at the edge of your seat wondering if it is appropriate to rush the court. I’m willing to say that it’s probably not appropriate, but that’s just me!
Feel free to tweet at me to let me know what you think. Is it too cool that you just have to do it? Do you think it’s a JV move? Let me know via twitter: @dpulupa
[Photo Credit: Maggie Miller]
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