Duke University's Scheyer and other Atlantic Coast Conference coaches face court rushing at WRALSportsFan.com.

Duke University’s Scheyer and other Atlantic Coast Conference coaches face court rushing at WRALSportsFan.com.

This article was written by Brian Murphy, an investigative reporter for WRAL Sports, and Matt Talhelm, a reporter for WRAL.

On Monday, the coaches of ACC men’s basketball expressed their concern over the safety of players when fans rush onto the court after games and recommended that measures be taken to prevent this from happening.

Duke sophomore standout Kyle Filipowski injured his knee when Wake Forest fans stormed the court after the Demon Deacons’ 83-79 victory over Duke on Saturday in Winston-Salem. Several fans made contact with Filipowski, whose status is uncertain moving forward.

Monday, Duke coach Jon Scheyer expressed the need for action from the ACC in order to protect the players of not just his own team, but any team in a similar situation.

“We must not delay until the following year. It should be completed immediately.”

The recent event involving Filipowski, who was named the ACC’s top player before the season, brought attention to the practice of court storming. This refers to the tradition of fans, usually students, rushing onto the court in celebration after their team defeats a rival or highly ranked opponent. This often occurs after the home team defeats Duke.

Duke students hardly ever rush onto the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham.

The most recent instance of Duke fans rushing onto the court at their home arena occurred on December 4, 2005, after Sean Dockery made a buzzer-beating shot to secure a win against Virginia Tech.

NC State coach Kevin Keatts stated that fans must either eliminate the action or create some structure for it, in regards to storming the court.

Keatts proposed giving a notice that a court invasion would occur in two minutes.

The speaker stated that it is unnecessary to rush onto the court when time runs out. The desired result can still be achieved without doing so.

Similar to Keatts, other coaches proposed implementing a timer that would provide opposing players and coaches with enough time to leave the court before students rush onto the court.

Scheyer suggested that implementing additional security measures and using ropes could potentially safeguard players.

Some coaches expressed the opinion that the ACC should impose severe penalties on schools. In other leagues, schools are typically fined for court or field storming during football games, but the ACC does not currently do so.

“According to Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, it is necessary for us to engage in a truly important discussion. In my perspective, in order to prevent this from happening again, schools should be penalized with a fine of $1 million if anyone rushes onto the court before both teams have exited. It must be a significant consequence.”

John Currie, athletic director at Wake Forest, contacted Duke officials following the incident. He stated that security had practiced the procedures for after the game.

Currie stated that improvements need to be made. He also acknowledged that action needs to be taken regarding the widespread occurrence of court and field storming.

During a court storming at Ohio State earlier this year, Caitlin Clark from the Iowa women’s basketball team collided with a fan.

“Numerous occurrences have been witnessed in college sports that place individuals in dangerous situations. In order to guarantee the safety of all involved, including spectators, it is essential for everyone to work together,” stated Jim Phillips, the ACC commissioner, following the Duke-Wake Forest match.

According to Scheyer, Jared McCain and other Duke players were exposed to perilous circumstances after the Wake Forest game. He commends the student-managers of the Blue Devils for assisting in getting the players safely off the court.

Several coaches stated their desire to preserve the thrill of defeating top-ranked teams and maintain the strong connection between fans and players, while also ensuring the safety of the opposing team.

“We all enjoy the excitement of court storming due to the opportunity for college students and players to celebrate together,” shared Brad Brownell, the coach of Clemson.

“Clearly, it is crucial that we prevent players from getting injured. My main worry is that a player may feel threatened and retaliate against a fan if they are pushed or confronted. This is causing significant concern within the sports community.”

Jay Bilas, an analyst for ESPN, expresses his opinions on supporters rushing onto the court.

The SEC, one of the collegiate sports conferences, has specific rules and consequences in place for when fans rush onto the court. Schools in the SEC are subject to a fine of $100,000 if such incidents occur, with the funds going to the opposing team’s school.

Jay Bilas, a former Duke player and current college basketball analyst for ESPN, expressed his opinions on the fines imposed by the SEC.

Bilas explained that the schools are willing to pay the fine because they value the visual aspect.

Bilas has witnessed multiple instances of fans rushing onto the court during his time as a player at Duke from 1982-1986, as an assistant coach at Duke from 1990-1992, and as an analyst for ESPN.

According to Bilas, the reality is that they are unwilling to put an end to it and they will continue until a larger disaster occurs.

According to Duke supporters interviewed by WRAL News, they are against banning the tradition of court-storming.

Vay stated that he does not wish to discard it, but rather modify it. He believes that no player should sustain an injury after the buzzer has sounded.

In the 2023-24 season, five schools have been penalized $100,000 each by the SEC, including an instance on Nov. 29 when Arkansas defeated Duke.

Source: wralsportsfan.com