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In the Loop: Finding a solution to court-storming incidents

Mar. 1—On Jan. 7, 2001, South Carolina's Tyler Kraft hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat No. 5 Florida, 69-68.

A freshman Mike Boynton then found himself at the bottom of a pile and in the middle of a court-storming.

"I think (it was) the only time I was fearful on the basketball court," he said 23 years later at his media availability on Tuesday. "That was not very comforting or fun, and I think it's evolved to where it's more of a badge of honor to have your phone out there with you and people aren't paying attention like they did."

The future of court-stormings in college basketball became a leading topic on sports talk shows this past week — mostly because there wasn't much else to fill air time with — in response to Duke star Kyle Filipowski sustaining a knee injury in an on-court collision with a Wake Forest student on Sunday.

Reactions on ESPN ranged from Jay Bilas suggesting students should be jailed for stepping on the court to Chris "Mad Dog" Russo completely dismissing Duke's complaints as Filipowski played on Wednesday.

Boynton's opinion wasn't as extreme as Bilas', but he said court-stormings have gone too far.

"There's a reason that you don't see that in any other area of athletics ... so it's probably past due to have the conversation," Boynton said. "It's something we need to address for sure."

There's a simple solution in theory, but there's sadly little evidence in practice.

Has our society degraded so much that people can't be mindful of others? Unfortunately, a PA announcer asking fans to be respectful toward opposing players and coaches is unlikely to be effective in 2024.

If students can't be trusted to act civilized at a basketball game, then hiring more security isn't the answer. The staff at Gallagher-Iba Arena had a meeting in the southwest lobby on Saturday with seconds left in the Bedlam game to prepare for a court-storming.

There isn't any realistic number of people that could've prevented hundreds or thousands of students from rushing the court if that's what they wanted to do. An OSU loss meant they didn't have to worry about that.

The only way to keep students off the court is to keep the court out of students' reach and put them in the nosebleeds. The move would upset a lot of people and make college basketball more corporate than it already is.

But if schools like Duke aren't willing to do that, they're going to have to accept the results.

Marcus Trevino is a sports reporter for The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at mtrevino@stwnewspress.com.