Source: #8 Duke loses to unranked Wake Forest, students storm the court; Duke center Kyle Filipowski allegedly injured by fan during the mob, coach Jon Scheyer calls for an end to storming
The low-hanging fruit is that if Duke could just stop sucking and getting upset by lesser-heralded opponents, they wouldn’t have to deal with other schools’ fans storming the court on them. Furthermore, we’re long past Coach K’s retirement and it’s apparent that Jon Scheyerface isn’t helming a perpetual national champion anymore, so if the NCAA could stop overrating the fuck out of Duke and having them in the AP Top-10 all the time, then maybe opponents will stop thinking they’re upsetting Goliath every time they eat another L, and fans won’t feel the need to storm the court.
Put me in the segment of sports fans that is particularly enjoying the new reality that Duke is far from the automatic win they used to be, and regardless of the diminishing importance of beating Duke is becoming, it’s always a pleasure to see them take a loss.
But here’s the thing, I can see where Jon Scheyerface is coming from, as well as all those who are in support of his remarks to plead with an end to court storming. Just because it’s a long-standing tradition across the college athletics landscape, most notably in football and basketball, and just because it’s something that’s “always been done,” it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t ever been a potential risk to tons of student athletes and team and venue personnel, and it doesn’t mean it’s really ever been right.
It’s just that this particular season, there have now been two noteworthy incidents where players have gotten bodied by jubilant fans storming the court, where Iowa’s Caitlin Clark was trucked by a fan, and now Dook’s Kyle Filipowki* took a tumble and had to be helped off the court. If there’ve been any other incidents in the past in hoops or football, none have really made the media such as these.
*which sounds about like the whitest name in the world, even for a Dook player
As traditional and exciting it is to see a court storming, it really is a recipe for disaster where it’s a miracle that things haven’t gotten worse than these isolated incidents throughout the years. Hundreds to thousands of people, swept up in emotion and excitement of being on the right side of a victory, rushing towards a central point where there might still be opposition present, trying to process an L while going against the flow of human traffic; suddenly accessible when they typically aren’t, because a venue’s security has long since been physically overwhelmed.
The reality is that a court storming can happen at any point of a game, not just the finish, and there is literally nothing a venue could do about it. There is nothing short of employing the Justice League to guard the access points to the court or field from being swarmed by hundreds to thousands of rushing human beings, and even the most imposing of security will get overwhelmed by a mass of people eventually. Unless there is a ratio of security that is closer to 1:1 and not 1:500, court storming is literally impossible to prevent from happening.
It’s just that traditionally, there is an understood agreement and civility that saves court storming for upsets of heralded opponents. Dook has done a good job historically, be it through their students, alumni, PR and brand management, of becoming the school that everyone loves to hate, and seemingly regardless of their rank or position in the NCAA rankings, has probably been the school to have to deal with the most number of court stormings against over the last 25 years or so, so in spite of my general disdain for the school, I actually do understand where the concerns over court storming come from.
Like I said, it’s easy to make the joke that maybe if they just stop losing, they wouldn’t have to deal with it, but the concerns and potential dangers are no less real when it comes to when it actually happens. Frankly, I don’t think Filipowski was actually hurt as much as he was more trying to cushion his bruised ego for taking an L against Wake Forest, much like any player who gets rocked in any sport suddenly having an spontaneous injury announced afterward to try and salvage their ego.
But if court storming actually does have action taken against it, regardless of the fact that nobody can really stop it from happening, all eyes are going to be on Duke as the party responsible for attempting to kill a tradition that has been a part of college sports almost as long as the existence of college sports. And as much as people who didn’t go to Dook generally revile Dook, this outcome would probably, undoubtedly make things much worse for them, and probably set up a situation where even more schools will feel the compulsion to storm on them if they ever lose in their houses.
Would be pretty impressive to be Kyle Filipowski, because it would most definitely put him up in the upper echelon of Hated White Duke Player history, with Christian Laettner, JJ Redick and Grayson Allen, but unlike them, it’s not because he was so good at basketball as much as he was trying to kill off a timeless tradition and change the general landscape of college sports.