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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keegan

Column: Celebration turns ugly with aggressive court-storming

Kansas forward Perry Ellis moves to the sideline as fans rush the court following the Jayhawks' 70-63 loss to the Wildcats, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. At right, a Kansas State fan bumps into Kansas forward Jamari Traylor.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis moves to the sideline as fans rush the court following the Jayhawks' 70-63 loss to the Wildcats, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. At right, a Kansas State fan bumps into Kansas forward Jamari Traylor.

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— Nigel Johnson couldn’t be stopped. He nailed three-pointers all night. He blew past his man on the way to buckets at the hoop. He competed so hard and so well that he, as much as the wildly passionate students, infused the rest of the team with energy and confidence. And he did it all the night after taking his mother out for a birthday dinner.

The Wildcats didn’t take off a possession defensively and fed off the crowd. They played together, put their petty differences with each other behind them, focused on living in the moment, and what a moment it was for them.

For K-State, it was a beautiful victory against favored in-state rival Kansas, 70-63.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on the Sunflower Showdown & K-State's court-storming

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self discusses the Sunflower Showdown & K-State's court-storming following Monday's 70-63 loss in Manhattan.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis & Kelly Oubre shed light on what went wrong vs. K-State

Perry Ellis & Kelly Oubre shed light on what went wrong vs. K-State.

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K-STATE 70, KANSAS 63

Box score

And then the students, taking advantage of lax security, stormed the court. In a blink, the scene of highly entertaining basketball theater grew ugly, unnecessarily dangerous.

A student who stormed the court zeroed in on Kansas junior Jamari Traylor and shoulder-checked him, delivering an up-and-in blow. Traylor had enough discipline not to retaliate.

At one point, as the crowd pressed in on the two coaches during their post-game handshake, Kansas coach Bill Self stumbled before catching his balance. K-State coach Bruce Weber positioned himself behind Self, spread his arms wide, trying to form a one-man security force.

“I tried to protect Bill best I could. Finally, I said the heck with it and started pushing people out of the way, which is sad,” Weber said. “Enjoy it, make the most of it, but also respect your opponent and make sure they get off the court safely.”

That’s a lot to ask of frenzied students. It’s not on them to make sure players get off the court safely. It’s on security and there wasn’t enough of it, or at the very least there wasn’t a good plan in place.

“Sometimes it’s hard,” Weber said. “Last year, I was walking out and that dude came right over the scorer’s table and jumped on me. ... You just don’t want anyone to get hurt. I’m glad no one got hurt and they got out of there without anybody getting hurt.”

Afterward, Self was gracious in defeat, lauding K-State by saying they played, “superbly.” At the same time, he was hot about the lack of security.

“I wasn’t nervous for me,” Self said. “There were several students who hit our players, not saying with fists, but you storm the court, you run in, you bump everybody, stuff like that. This has got to stop.”

Yes, it does.

“I think court-storming’s fine, but surely you can get security to the point where a player’s safety’s not involved, like it is over here,” Self said. “The last several times that they’ve won, they’ve stormed the court on us. That’s disappointing that it happened again, but we also allowed it to happen.”

Allowing it to happen is beside the point of it needing to stop.

“It’s a ballgame, it’s not about chicken-winging somebody when the game’s over,” Self said. “That’s not what it’s about. Hopefully, they can get that corrected. It’s fine if you want to celebrate us when you beat us. That’s your business. That’s fine. But at least it shouldn’t put anybody at risk from a safety standpoint because we’re asking for big problems because somebody’s going to hit a player and the player’s going to retaliate and you’re going to have lawsuits and cases. It’s just not right. There’s no place for it to be unsafe. If you’re going to do it, at least do it around center court. Don’t do it at the other bench.”

The problem with attempting to modify it is that it will just revert to lax security in time. For example, when ripping field-goal posts down became the thing to do in Lawrence after the football team scored upsets, Kansas figured out a way to put a stop to it. Then this past season, after defeating an Iowa State team that went winless in the Big 12, the students stormed the field. 

It’s time to make court-storming and field-storming a thing of the past.

Not that it should ever come to it, but Kansas brings such a large chunk of its 200-plus-employees athletic department to games that it would be better prepared than any other university in the nation. Even at that, four members of the athletic department were seated courtside, three rows ahead of the media outlet that covers them most thoroughly ­— in seats on “press” row that back when athletic departments used to respect the First Amendment of the constitution, which guaranteed a free press and discouraged propaganda — so they were out of position to form a wall against the stampede.

“I apologized to Bill and his staff and to their administration,” Weber said. “It’s a cool thing to be a part of, but you also have to make sure nobody gets hurt. I’ve had some pretty good teams through the years and I’ve had it happen to me where they rushed the court and I got bopped and hit and it’s no fun, especially when you lose.”

As Self said, it has to stop. But he didn’t go far enough. It has to stop everywhere, not just at K-State.


Update, 9:43 a.m.

None by K-State Police


More news and notes from Kansas at K-State


By the Numbers: Kansas State beats KU, 70-63

By the Numbers: Kansas State beats KU, 70-63

Comments

Code_2008 5 years, 8 months ago

Just slap a $25,000 fine on storming the court like the SEC and be done with it.

Greg Lux 5 years, 8 months ago

There is a very simple solution. If you storm the court your team Loses the game. It's past time to stop this nonsense. I blame the Big 12. They can put a stop to this for good. You Storm you Lose.

Scott Bonnet 5 years, 8 months ago

Why is that absurd Eliott? No better deterrent.

Dave Coen 5 years, 8 months ago

I was going to agree with the SEC solution, $25000 fine, but even that might not be effective since students to not pay the fine. Seeing your idea of an automatic forfeit sounds like the best idea.

Marisa Lahm 5 years, 8 months ago

It's not K-State's fault that their students are a bunch of jack***es. I actually like their basketball team. It's their students and hateful older fans holding "I hate you" signs that I feel are to blame. These people get so petty over a rivalry that they want to exist but DOES NOT exist. Do not let the punishment fall on the basketball team who played their best and earned that win.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

That again is a lack of institutional control. All the administration has to do is institute a policy that says if you are caught exhibiting bad sportsmanship on campus, you will be removed from the current sporting event, and potentially future sporting events. Heck, start with just detaining suspects in a room for questioning during the current event, and that will get their attention.

The AD needs to show leadership.

Scott Bonnet 5 years, 8 months ago

It's the athletic departments fault. This has happened 3 times in a row. They should have known. It's the only penalty capable of preventing this stupidity. The fines don't affect these idiots.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

Make it an escalating schedule: $10,000 the first time $20,000 the second (cumulative, not per year) $40,000 the third time ... Then pass on the cost to the students in their ticket prices the following year. It will eventually get their attention/be motivating. After a year of positive behavior, the ticket price can back-up a step.

Greg Lux 5 years, 8 months ago

Here is the problem. Like HCBS said. Sooner or later a fan is going to throw an elbow or worse a punch and the player is going to retaliate. Someone is going to get hurt or even worse badly injured. It could be a career ending back injury for no fault of the ether team. Yes the punishment is harsh and it needs to be harsh to get the attention of the idiots who are out of control after a win like last night. If you tell the students that " You storm and your team loses" it will stop and stop it needs to happen. No team is going to end up forfeiting their win because the students are not going to storm the court. So the punishment is not harsh at all.

Dave Miller 5 years, 8 months ago

Make it a real punishment: $100,000 fine and forfeiture of the game. The fine goes to the other school. That would really stick in their craw if they to pay the opposing team.

No appeals will be allowed by the offending university. Also levy severe fines if there is not enough security personnel in position to fully protect the visiting team. If it happens twice in one sport in the season the fine doubles and the offending university is ineligible for post season play of any kind.

Andy Tweedy 5 years, 8 months ago

Props to Jamari, that couldn't have been easy to walk away.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

LOL..the kid looked like he was 120 lbs soaking wet.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

That wasn't the PC description given. Thanks.

Glad it was Curtis sticking up for the players, and that he isn't getting blasted for it.

Tyler Fox 5 years, 8 months ago

This article is on point. Well, except for the bitter paragraph about poor Keegan's downgraded seats. Maybe he'd have better luck asking the University of Kansas for tickets since Kansas University isn't playing nice with him.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 8 months ago

You're beating a rotted horse there. The University of Kansas or Kansas University debate is not Keegan or any of the writer's or editor's choice.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

Don't like the court storming? Then win the damn game.

Code_2008 5 years, 8 months ago

When the Jayhawks do court storming (or field storming since we don't do court storming), we at least do it in a way nobody gets hurt (now if they'll just quit tearing down the goal posts...)

Cody Riedy 5 years, 8 months ago

That's the most realistic way to deal with this real problem: never lose a game. And if you do lose, then you deserve to have thousands of moronic teenagers stampede over you.

Allison Steen 5 years, 8 months ago

Thats not the issue. Yeah it sucks when fans storm the court, but people are pissed because of how out of control it was. How do you not see the difference?

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

It's not the issue? If storming the court isn't the issue then please tell me the purpose of this article and several others on the same topic.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 8 months ago

I have had mixed feelings about storming the court because college sports are for the fans too, but when people get rude and someone can get hurt or go after an opposing player etc, then you are taking away a moment to enjoy and celebrate and making it about you. I would be okay with fines for storming the courts because it is starting to get ugly. Congrats for winning the game KSU, but your fans need to act like winners too.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

"your fans need to act like winners too"

Maybe their not?

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 8 months ago

The way they stormed the court, absolutely not they are not acting like winners. When ESPN and the talk shows are talking about the fans storming the court and not the game then the fans took away from the game and their team's victory.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes, college sports are also for the fans (who else are they for - no fans, no sports) and that is why they are provided seats in which to view the game and the players are provided with a court to play on. There is no place for fans to be on the court.

Craig Hagelgantz 5 years, 8 months ago

i like when fans storm the court against us...it's a testament to our success. Safety is an issue. There's cell-phone pictures everywhere. Disclaimer on the back of the ticket that a physical confrontation with coaches, players, or staff of an opposing team results in expulsion from school, lifetime ban from future games, a fine, and/or criminal charges.

Janet Cinelli 5 years, 8 months ago

K-State and your fans: you should be ashamed of current student body. Where does some little jerk get off hitting an opposing player during a court-storming. The "octagon of doom" HA! Try the "octagon of delinquents!" It's all on film, and if I were Jamari Traylor, I would be asking for an arrest for assault. Sorry you can't really live up to the honor we give you of calling you a rival, but this is low, SO disrespectful and unbecoming a Kansan.

Andrew Dunlap 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree. I went to both schools. I'm sorry that the fans at K State can't compete with KU in basketball and have lost 90% of the last 50 meetings. There is no rivalry. This is ignorance that should have not been admitted to attend. They need to clean up their act.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

I loved that the "octagon of doom" banner had their kitty in a square = geometrically challenged.

Signed, The Enginerd

Cody Riedy 5 years, 8 months ago

Fans everywhere in general need to step off the ledge so to speak. Forgive me a moment for the whole pseudo-socio-psychological analysis, but I think fans everywhere have way too much emotional energy invested in the outcome of sporting events and often time the energy takes nasty turns (e.g. K-State fans aggressive taunting after a win; KU fans vituperating our players and coach after every single loss in hyperbolic and often condescending terms). I think part of the excess is the whole "it's a business" mantra that has become a truism of sports at every level. In America, "business" represents a whole set of cultural attitudes that generally result in dividing the world into winners and losers. The "loser" is a particularly American concept that originated in our economic ethic and has seeped into everything, but especially athletics such that now, too often, sports is a zero-sum game not just in W's and L's but in how we judge our players and coaches and programs. But whatever, beginning to apply cultural analysis to sports is a rabbit hole because we've loaded sports with so much symbolic weight and larded it with so many truisms because in fact, I think we treat sports as the ideal stand in for our economy - a supposedly perfect-meritocracy in which anything less than "winning" is seen as a reprehensible character flaw. Yeah...I'll just stop now.

Cody Riedy 5 years, 8 months ago

Then again, people are killed over soccer all around the world, so maybe there's nothing American about it; all humans everywhere are prone to tribalism, which is an instinct given vent in sports.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

One thumb up for using the word 'vituperating' in your post.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

The day I support the end of court-storming will be the day KU fans stop storming the football field for victories over fellow bottom-feeders like ISU.

Mick Allen 5 years, 8 months ago

Bryce it is hard for me to believe you can not see the difference in assaulting and battering players and coaches and dragging goal posts off to Potter's lake. Look at the videos. there was an imminent danger to our players and coaches. Self was almost knocked down by the crowd that surrounded our bench. Coach Townsend put one "fan" in a headlock who was shoving a "double bird" into the face of one of our players. No security and this immature lack of class and civility should have been anticipated considering their history on the very few occasions they have beaten us in the "Octagon of Doom". Occasional winners they are, classy winners they will never be.

Len Shaffer 5 years, 8 months ago

You summed it up perfectly, Mick. I'm getting sick and tired of people comparing storming the field to storming the court.

I would prefer that we not storm the field and it makes us look stupid, but there's NO comparison to putting opposing players and coaches in danger.

I also think that the KSU athletic director's apology rings hollow. What, they didn't think this could happen??? It's not like it hasn't happened before; why weren't they prepared???

The only KSU person who comes out of this looking good is Bruce Weber. He did what he could to keep Bill Self safe.

Dave Miller 5 years, 8 months ago

And Kurtis Townsend for his effort in keeping players safe.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 8 months ago

I didn't watch the game on TV. I listened on the radio and turned it off as soon as the buzzer sounded, so I didn't find out about what went down until later.

Dale Koch 5 years, 8 months ago

The solution is to win the games you're supposed to win and it won't happen. That was a pathetic performance last night. We totally gave that game away. Being up 8 3 different times and not being able to finish it was awful. They get up 6 and we can't come back on them.

Len Shaffer 5 years, 8 months ago

That's completely irrelevant, Dale, and you and the others who keep saying it come across as as idiots.

Of course KU should have won, but the punishment for losing should not be to have to worry about your safety.

Mick Allen 5 years, 8 months ago

Good point Brett. Kevin Purple will make it seem that this type of behavior goes on every where. The punk that shoved and elbowed Jamari was extremely fortunate that he, Jamari, was mature enough to "turn the other cheek" or that miscreant would still be searching for his teeth in the "Octagon of Doom".

Michael Leiker 5 years, 8 months ago

The league's basketball fans are a mess, it's truly more about beating KU right now than it is about winning the league or going far in the tournament, etc. These last 10 years have created a monster. Looking at some of the pictures of these fans, you can just feel the hatred, ISU a few years back... I get it, it's a big deal, but man, these KSU fans are over the top. I mean they've won 4 of the last 8 there right? It's not like KU winning in football in 2004, it happens fairly regularly now. When KU won in football, then proceeded to win two of the next 3 at home it was like a non-event. People comparing this to KU students storming the court in football are off base. It has been a once in a few year accomplishment for KU to win a conference game, and typically that is done in a spirit of joy, not whatever that is that was on display last night...borders on psychosis.

Dale Koch 5 years, 8 months ago

Oh, and coach Weber, wouldn't it be a cooler thing if you were so good that you never had to storm the court just because you won a game.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 8 months ago

Do you really want to lose to KSU enough times to where that's not an issue?

Michael Leiker 5 years, 8 months ago

We already have, they won 3 of the last 4 there, it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

They're sub 500 this year, and destine to March irrelevance.

This game was all they had to play for. "National Champions" for a day.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 8 months ago

ESPN isn't even mentioning what happened to Jamari which is much more serious than even what happened to Bill Self. This is something the NCAA needs to address because it's just a matter of time before a school gets slapped with a big lawsuit.

Andrew Dunlap 5 years, 8 months ago

I am an alumnus of both schools. The fans acted like soccer hooligans. I hear that the police are trying to identify one of them. The Big 12 ought to sanction K State and not allow any more court storming there. But as bad as they are, they probably won't be able to do this again for another 25 years. Our Players and Coaches were in danger. I wonder what would have happened in Traylor had responded. Of course we would have heard 'thug" but that's what those guys were acting like. They should be prosecuted.

Walter Bridges 5 years, 8 months ago

If Traylor had responded, very likely the violence would have spread rapidly. Major props to Traylor for not jacking up the hit and run punk who probably never made it past high school.

Mark Anderson 5 years, 8 months ago

The penalty for storming the court must have an effect on the offenders. Instead of fining the University money, a penalty for which the students couldn't care less, start taking away student seats. 1st offense - students lose 500 seats for the next game. 2nd offense - students lose 1000 seats for the next game. Further offenses, loss of seats for the remainder of the season/post-season. Until the penalty starts effecting the students, behavior won't change!

Dirk Medema 5 years, 8 months ago

If the penalties were passed on to the students in season ticket prices the following year, there would eventually be sufficient mass policing that it would make a difference.

Definitely agree with you regarding the escalating consequence factor. Also, make it a running tally carried forward from year to year. Move back a step by a year of good sportsmanship.

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 8 months ago

I don't know for sure, but I would guess the student fees are where the money for the fines in the SEC comes from.

Dave Miller 5 years, 8 months ago

If the university understands that the fine will be a significant amount, the university will prevent it from happening. If the students understand that the game will be forfeited and the team ineligible for post season play, the students themselves will prevent it from happening. Just my humble opinion.

Dale Stringer 5 years, 8 months ago

Easy punishment along with a school fine -- the next scheduled home game gets moved to the current visiting team. So next year both KU-KSU games would be played in Lawrence. You could do the same thing with football. Football would result in not having a home game against that team for 3 yrs.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 8 months ago

K-State Police say they are no longer looking for the individual in question. I assume (hope) this means they found the little bastard?

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