The rushing of the floor

Eamonn Brennan, a college basketball blogger for ESPN who helped develop Inside the Hall after writing for the IDS, offered this take on Indiana students rushing the court after beating Minnesota.

If you haven’t read it, I’ll let you take a moment now.

Welcome back.

A few thoughts: storming the court, we all must admit, has become a sacred ritual. While in practice it appears as though people simply move their celebration from one area to the other, it’s a loaded act.

As I do for far too many things in life, I turned to ESPN’s Pat Forde for guidance on this front, and he had me taken care of. Here’s his take from a 2006 article:

The Old Money Principle (2): Look up at the ceiling of your gym and count the banners. If your school has won three or more national titles in its history, you shall not rush the floor at any time. Schools affected: UCLA (11 titles), Kentucky (seven), Indiana (five), North Carolina (four), Duke (three).

Your program has won big games before. Act like it.

The Old Money Principle clearly puts the Indiana student body in violation of The Forde Minutes’ protocol. Especially when the vanquished team, Illinois, owns zero national titles of its own. How terribly tacky.

The Illini did not even qualify for a Minutes Protocol Exception (3), which states that if your august basketball program has hit the skids to a dispiriting degree (Indiana has missed the last two NCAA Tournaments), a storming is allowable under certain conditions:

Condition A (4): The opponent is ranked No. 1 and/or undefeated at least halfway through the season (14 or more games). Illinois was merely ranked fifth in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll and already had a loss on the season.

Condition B (5): Your august program defeats a top-five team on a suitably miraculous shot (25 feet or farther) at the buzzer, spurring spontaneous joy that overrides better impulses. (The Indiana-Illinois game went down to the wire, but it wasn’t won at the buzzer on a prayer.)

Condition C (6): You are so intoxicated that you cannot remember the opponent’s ranking, or how many titles your school has won. But be forewarned that The Minutes will not pay your bail if you’re the lone trespasser on the court and wind up in cuffs.

Condition D (7): You see college hoops fan Ashley Judd (8) sitting at the other end of the court, and you know that the shortest distance to her is a straight line.

It appears, then, that Indiana was in violation of Forde’s rules. There was no highly-ranked team, no last-second buzzer beater, no women worth sprinting toward. So unless everybody was drunk (admittedly a possibility since there was no school the next day), IU fails.

But, wait . . . Forde’s exceptions are for teams that “hit the skids to a dispiriting degree.” Tom Crean would probably argue that Indiana “was utterly decimated to a soul-destroying degree.” So maybe the rules are different.

Except that Forde rejected that notion in his own Twitter feed, saying the court storm was unjustified.

So . . .

How about this? Indiana fans shouldn’t have stormed the court because….at least one player didn’t think they should.

Verdell Jones said as much after the game. Didn’t think it was warranted.

Fact is, Indiana’s players probably accomplished something fairly major by pulling out a close game against a team as talented as the Gophers. And they want people to be excited. They’d just prefer that fans show they believe there are days ahead that will warrant the ultimate celebration.


  1. I appreciate the sentiment behind the act, and what that victory means to IU fans who have struggled along with this team for the past year and a half, but it still doesn’t change the fact that watching the court flood with students was embarrassing.

  2. Oh for crying out loud . . .

    (a) get over it (all of you), it’s so not a big deal, and

    (b) how the hell is this still a story? Seriously, how?

  3. I agree the court storming was a bit embarassing. I understand it, but Minnesota isn’t even ranked, or that good. I’ll give us last year against Iowa, because it was nice for that make-shift team to win a big ten game after they worked so hard, and were out talented in every game. That was our one free pass. This year, we should expect to compete with the Illinois and Minnesotas of the Big Ten. I say the only way to make up for this disgrace is one of a couple ways:

    1. Storm the court after every win, thus mocking the process and showing that it doesn’t mean anything. Imagine after beating Ivy Tech early next year a sea of students running onto the court, and mildly clapping.

    2. Come up with a new way to celebrate wins without rushing the court. Possibly a throwing of the big heads? Trashcan fires? Fans get into an endless line and participate in a second William Tell Overture where they will crisscross with homemade flags? (This will allow fans on the court, as well as test the innebriation factor)

    3. Singing a group song.

    4. I want to hear your suggestions…

    (note: In no way am I serious about these suggestions other than possibly finding another way to express our joy of a close win. This post is meant to spur ideas and be outlandish. IF you are taking this seriously, please visit the closest doctor.)

    Come on Scoopers, This is our chance to not fight or disagree, but all have a little fun together. Let’s share in the love.

  4. Casey, most of the time I agree with you and I think your posts are logical and well presented, not that this one isn’t.

    But I don’t know how storming the court is embarrassing. I really don’t. Sampson embarrassed me and my school with his cheating and lying. Bob Knight embarrassed me several times with his bully act. Mike Davis was a continual low-grade boil on the butt type of embarrassment.

    This storm the court stuff is small potatoes compared to all of that. Very small potatoes.

    I realize I’m likely in the minority here, but that’s my take.

    I also think this discussion seems to have taken on a life of its own. Quite possibly because media vacuums need to be filled, which we both are happily doing (vbg).

  5. I think it was unnecessary too, but given the circumstances, not as bad. Either way, I can’t imagine too many people are really thinking about it except us, and probably some Purdue fans.

  6. Not defending Casey really, but I will admit that I had an uneasy feeling watching the students storm the court. It was different this time, the way it happened. A few ran out and it stopped for a while and then it was a few more and then the same thing. It was weird almost like they were mocking the team in a way and doing it just to do it, happened so slowly. Normally everyone just goes and it is many kids quickly. I think that is why Jones made the comments he did. Again, not taking sides…just explaining my take from inside the hall.

  7. Casey, while I may agree with you, please ask yourself this question: Embarrassing for who? You,team,coaches,facility,alumni,fans at the game,fans at home watching,the other school or team,their coaches or all the above, etc ? There is no rule pro or con. In the absence of a rule the issue becomes personal and everyone has a right to like or dislike what happened. Everyone has an opinion. Go back and look at the pictures posted on this website of the players and fans. I see everyone having a great time celebrating. As a coach I really did not like fans rushing the floor because I had bad memories of players, coaches and fans being hurt in the frenzy. There was a lot of emotions that came into play after this game and IU needed something to be happy about. I am thankful no one was injured.

  8. A person’s stance on this – just like most things in life – is persuaded by their perspective. If you are an IU fan over 25 (or so, give or take) then your perspective is filled with the tradition of winning (the right way too!) and rushing the court after beating MN made no sense and left a bad taste in your mouth. But if you are a current student at IU (as were those that rushed the court) you perspective is filled with frustration and a longing to support a (currently) winning program.

    I didn’t like it when I saw it but then I considered the kids’ perspective that did it… They didn’t rush the court because we beat MN. They rushed the court because they were afraid we were going to fold just like we did against IL. And when MN scored the first 5 points in OT their emotions hit rock bottom. And then (just like the Grinch…) our hearts grew ten fold. It had nothing to do with who we beat! It was all about the team we are now and the way we won.

    I think Jim is right though… why is this still a story? And I’m really concerned for you Chris! If Pat Forde is a mentor to you I wish you the best of luck – you’ll need it. He used his sensationalism journalism to move up the ladder but I have to question his integrity after he blatantly called all IU fans racist in his Louisville Couier Journal column during the Mike Davis era. When I questioned him on it and told him he was wrong and that I took it personally his response was that it sold papers and no apology or retraction was offered.

  9. It was a complete disgrace to the program and the people who built it. Embarrassing is putting it nicely.

  10. J Pat, I agree with you… I was in the bleachers in the student section… The side opposite where I was started leaking a few students, and then it just seemed like people thought it would be fun if they followed. Many (myself included) wondered aloud why people were rushing and some didn’t go on the court until after a few minutes of pondering… I don’t agree that it was a mocking fashion, I just think more people than not realized that it was only Minnesota (not Kentucky, Purdue, etc.) and hesitated. It was definitely an awkward guesture, however…

  11. Don’t get me wrong guys, I don’t think this is the end of the world. I don’t think it’s a “disgrace,” as some would say.

    If anything I think it was a product of misplaced joy — which isn’t really a bad thing.

    I guess I’m speaking based on my immediate reaction when I was watching the game. I automatically repeated “really? really?” several times and I just felt a little odd about what I was watching. I just think it perhaps highlights the fact that our program has fallen on such tough/awkward circumstances in the last several years, and seeing that personified in hundreds of students rejoicing over a victory against Minnesota as if we’d just advanced to the Final Four left me feeling confused.

    If anything, it shows how much our fans crave victory, though. Not so bad.

  12. By the way…. doesn’t Forde’s ongoing bashing of IU fans (he’s been doing it for years probably because he hates Coach Knight) and his example of Ashley Judd being a reason to make an exception, show where his heart is?

  13. When is it okay to raise the coach up on someone’s shoulders after a win? I was looking for it the other day and I think Cream was too.

    That would have been even more embarrassing, although not surprising. At least they didn’t sing ‘Pants on the floor.’ Gotta save something for this week, hopefully.

  14. I’ve always thought, except in rare cases, that storming the court was stupid.

    One time, a player got hurt. What happens when it’s to a good player and it ends his season?

    Storming the court is just an excuse for drunk guys to hug a cheerleader and get on TV.

  15. Now, that’s embarrassing. I mean, knowing a link to something that stupid. There’s no excuse for that.

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