It took a tragic injury to alert America to the dangers of college hoops fans storming the court after a memorable win.
Indiana students celebrating Saturday's upset victory over top-ranked Kentucky were so needlessly careless that they nearly trampled a Playboy model.
Megan Dills, a Kentucky graduate and lifelong Wildcats fan, told VaughtsViews.com she was knocked down five or six stairs in the crush of red-clad fans trying to get to the court after Christian Watford's game-winning three as time expired. Doctors diagnosed Dills with a sprained ankle and some torn tendons, forcing her to cancel a Playboy photo shoot this Saturday in Indiana.
"All those fans came out of their seats and rushed the floor like idiots," Dills said. "The next thing I knew, I was knocked down five or six steps. I think the guy who actually knocked me down is the one who did at least pick me up. After I got hurt, I was scared to death."
Incidents during court stormings are not that unusual, but what happened to Dills has received far more national attention because of her profession than previous ones that were far more serious.
Stanford volleyball recruit Joe Kay suffered a stroke after being hit high and low, taken down to the floor and trampled by exuberant students after he led Tucson High to a basketball win over a rival in February 2004. More recently, Ohio State star Jared Sullinger accused Wisconsin fans of spitting on him after the Badgers upset the Buckeyes in Madison last season.
The charged atmosphere for Saturday's rivalry game made for an intimidating setting for Kentucky fans in Bloomington.
Even though Dills knew the pro-Hoosiers environment at Assembly Hall would be hostile, she still jumped at the chance to see her beloved Wildcats in person when a friend who's an Indiana alum offered her a ticket. She said she took some grief during the game for wearing a Kentucky T-shirt and painting UK on her face.
"There was a girl two rows behind me that said, 'Sit your blonde — down,'" Dills said. "I turned around and probably said some not so nice things myself back.
"What happened up there would never happen at Kentucky. They were so distasteful and not very sportsmanlike. You would have thought they won the national championship. I just see us as different than other schools. Basketball really is like a religion and we respect the game. You would not have to leave a game in fear like you did Indiana. Besides, if Kentucky had played to half of its potential, IU would be singing another song today."
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