In my freshman year of college at Oregon State, I was able to experience something that only a few OSU students ever get the opportunity to do during their time in college.
Attend the upset of a top-10 program and be able to rush the court in celebration afterwards. I was a part of the mosh pit when a severely undermanned OSU team upset the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, and I was one of the first people on the court jumping up and down and cheering with the Beavers.
Well, thanks to the Pac-12 Conference, that joy won’t be felt again, without a severe monetary cost. Earlier this week, the conference voted to have schools that rush the field/court fined as follows.
25,000 dollars for the first offense
50,000 for the second offense
100,000 for the third offense
Yikes. Seems kinda harsh don’t you think?
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott should have not allowed this to pass. The joys of college sports come from the fan base, and essentially you’ve told the fan base to quiet down.
It’s like going to the best party in town, and then being told that it has to be over by 8:00 p.m.
Before we dive into why this happened, let’s look at what this is actually going to accomplish:
Nothing, If a school pulls a massive upset, 25,000 dollars isn’t going to stop fans from running past security guards onto the court.
Another question to consider, when a school does storm the court, where does the money come from. There are plenty of schools in the Pac-12 who don’t make a profit from their athletic department, and run deficits every year. When they pull an upset, where will the money come from?
Now, why did this happen, look no further than one coach who had to complain.
The real culprit behind this ruling is Arizona’s basketball coach Sean Miller. After his team was outplayed, and out hustled by Colorado in February, Miller and his squad struggled to get off the court and complained that this needed to change before a player gets hurt.
He claimed that it would only be a matter of time until a player and a fan got into an altercation that would garner national headlines, so he decided to bluntly voice his opinion.
Now, I understand the need for player safety, but it’s never the opposing players that get caught up in the crowd storming. Sure, it may take them an extended amount of time to get out of of the gym, but otherwise I don’t think a court or field storming causes any immediate danger to the student athletes.
When OSU football pulled their upset of the century by defeating USC in 2008, fans were jumping over the wall before the game even ended. The clock hit zero and fans couldn’t be contained. But how many USC players get hurt because of the fans?
This rule was changed because the opposing team that gets upset doesn’t want to have a big deal made when they lose.
It was the highlight of my freshman year when I got to join Wayne Tinkle’s squad on Ralph Miller Court, and experience what it is like when your team is on top of the world.
It makes me sick to know that it will never happen again, without paying a hefty price in return.