Yesterday, the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated #18 Illinois at the Bryce Jordan Center on a dunk by Andrew Jones with 1 second remaining on the clock. After 2 timeouts, and a heave down the court that was deflected away by Penn State’s Jeff Brooks, the Penn State students rushed the floor. I attended this game, and was in the front row, but I can honestly say that I was not one of the first people on the floor. I saw people moving towards the court during the timeouts, but I assumed that they were getting ready to leave the game as soon as the second expired, as the way out was right next to where we were standing. As time expired and students rushed past me, I was originally stunned, and looked at my buddy, thinking, “Are we really storming the court right now?” I then stormed with the rest of the students, because at that point I really had no other option, and I had a good time doing it.
However, this game caused me to think about what has been an issue in my mind for several years now: When is it appropriate for students to storm the floor? Last night certainly was not. These are 5 criteria that describe the proper etiquette of storming the floor.
1. When in doubt, do not storm the floor. Storming the floor is a tradition that is much more special when it is done rarely. If done with very little frequency, and only in the right situation, it is much more meaningful. If it isn’t the biggest game of the season, and the game hasn’t provided an electric atmosphere the whole night, the fans can’t storm the court. When in doubt, don’t storm.
2. Fans of a team that is in top 25 can not storm the floor. Nothing is more embarrassing than a #22 team storming the floor against a #8 team. Storming the floor is reserved for major upsets, and if your team is ranked, the upset isn’t that unbelievable.
3. The team that is beaten must be in the top 10, preferably in the top 5. In order for a win against a top 10 team to be storming approved, the team beating the top 10 team must have not won a game in the series in at least 10 years, and the top 10 team must be a traditional rival. Other than that type of situation, the team beaten must be a top 5 ranked team. In the Penn State example, Illinois was ranked #18, and is not exactly a traditional rival of Penn State, and therefore the storming was not warranted.
4. If the team is a traditional basketball power, even if it is not ranked during that game or that season, the fans can not storm the floor. It was very embarrassing for Temple to storm the floor against #10 Georgetown this season. Temple was a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament last season, and was ranked for much of the year last season. In addition, Temple is always a solid basketball program, has made the NCAA tournament each of the past 3 years, and is not a school that needs to resort to storming the floor.
5. Storming the floor can only be done once per year, and preferably only once every five years. No one needs to see the same school rushing the floor every other game; it really takes away from the meaning of storming the floor. Penn State has stormed the floor twice in the past week (Saturday against #19 Michigan State, and Tuesday against #18 Illinois). The fans shouldn’t have stormed the Bryce Jordan Center floor even once in the past week, but twice is completely unnecessary and uncalled for in college basketball.