Brad Brownell sounds off on court storming in college basketball

Wake Forest’s 83-79 upset over No. 8 Duke Saturday in Winston-Salem should have made for just another thrilling moment in a college basketball season already full of excitement.

Instead, it’s led to a renewed discussion on player safety and more debate about court- and field-storming in college sports after Duke star Kyle Filipowski was injured amid a sea of Wake Forest fans who flooded the Demon Deacons’ home court after Saturday’s game.

Filipowski collided with fans and had to be helped off the floor with an ankle injury, Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer said. Filipowski said that he thought contact had been intentional.

The Filipowski incident occurred just a month after Ohio State fans stormed the court following a win over Iowa’s women’s basketball team. On that occasion, a Buckeyes fan collided with Iowa star Kaitlin Clark, who was knocked to the floor.

After Saturday’s game, Scheyer called for court storming to be banned.

“When are we going to ban court storming?” Scheyer asked. “When are we going to ban that? How many times does a player have to get into something where they get punched, or they get pushed, or they get taunted right in their face?”

Those are good questions, and ones that have sparked lively debate among fans, coaches, media figures, and just about everyone in between.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell had his own opinions on the subject when asked about it after his team’s 74-63 victory over Florida State on Saturday night.

Brownell was present when Clemson fans stormed the court following two upset wins over Duke — most recently in 2023 and prior to that in 2020.

“I hate it because that’s what’s great about college (basketball),” Brownell said. “You’re experiencing it with your student body. Having said that, you can’t have players getting hurt. Crowds are aggressive. Fans are aggressive. I do worry about confrontation.”

One thing at issue is what conferences can (and should) do about the storming’s. ACC schools currently don’t have fine structures or disciplinary measures for when fans rush the court, according to a report from ESPN.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips released a statement after Saturday’s incident, in which he acknowledged that court storming posed “serious risk” to players and others.

“The safety of our student athletes is always our top priority. We have been and will continue to be in contact with Duke and Wake Forest regarding what happened following today’s game. Across college athletics, we have seen far too many of these incidents put individuals at serious risk, and it will require the cooperation of all – including spectators – to ensure everyone’s well-being. As a conference, we will continually assess with our schools the best way to protect our student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

For his part, Brownell seemed to agree with the sentiment that something should be done to deter fans from rushing the court.

“What’s going to happen is a player not only gets hurt… but you’re going to have some kid get in the face or walk up to a player, and the player is going to respond in a way nobody is going to like because he’s going to feel threatened,” Brownell said. “Then we’re going to have a real problem. That’s the scary thing in terms of worrying about protecting your players. Our whole job is to protect our guys and to make them better.”

“I’m starting to lean toward it not being a good idea,” Brownell added.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire