20 Court-Storming Fails
Rushing the court is like baking a birthday cake.
You need the proper ingredients, climate and timing to do this thing right.
Not enough people in your court-rush? That's like running out of flour. You told everyone you were making a cake and showed up with a birthday muffin.
Is the win a ridiculous upset? If not, you're baking with match sticks. You need a victory over a top-ranked team to generate the heat necessary for a rush.
Most important of all is timing. If someone in the crowd has time to ask, "Are we going to rush?"—nope. That's like blowing out the candles a day early. You're doing it wrong and getting ahead of yourself.
As someone who's stormed a court before, I understand why it happens. I was shoved down a staircase in a rush to the hardwood, and I was grateful just to be there.
There is a right way to rush a court/field—a recipe to be followed. The following are fan bases and players who didn't do the cooking by the book.
20. Seton Hall Fans Fail to Storm the Court
Infraction: Lukewarm rush attempt.
If you're going to rush the court, you have to go whole hog.
Seton Hall students attempted to storm the hardwood after upsetting Georgetown in 2012, but they were boxed out by a handful of guards. They were ready to celebrate but weren't prepared to force the issue, as the game didn't end with the last-second heroics that initiate an all-out floor blitz.
A genuine court-rush isn't a planned event or suggestion—it's hive-mind anarchy that wordlessly consumes a tidal wave of humanity. Seton Hall students didn't have that in them.
19. Florida Gulf Coast Fans Rush After Beating Unranked Miami
Infraction: Rushing against an unranked, non-powerhouse opponent.
FGCU fans had a more talented team than they could've ever imagined at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. They probably would've thought better of this court-storming had they known they'd go on to stun a team like Georgetown in the NCAA tournament.
Still, fans decided to make a tiny knot on the court after beating a Miami team that had lost to Saint Leo in a preseason exhibition game and had yet prove anything to anyone.
18. Michigan Beats Middling UConn Tea
Infraction: Lack of basketball knowledge, unnecessary celebration.
This isn't the first time I've written about awful court-storms, and it definitely won't be the last.
However, of all the ridiculous rushes in the books, the Michigan student section's reaction to beating UConn—a five-loss team at the time—in 2010 might be the most puzzling. With their team up five points with seconds left on the clock, the Wolverines student section watched in tense silence as the Huskies chucked up a last-second three-pointer.
Allow me to reiterate: With their team up five points, the stadium went dead quiet for UConn's final shot. What did they think was going to happen?
17. FAU Fans Storm Court After Beating USF
Infraction: Court-rushing a win over a team that was firmly in the cellar of the Big East.
There's a common belief that Florida Atlantic University is a small school. It is not.
While it's not a major basketball program, FAU isn't exactly nobody. They've made the NCAA and NIT tournaments before. This particular win was over a South Florida team that ended the season 10-23 and 3-15 in conference.
16. With Manti Te'o as My Co-Pilot
Infraction: Fans of a strong program rushing after a win over a vastly overrated opponent.
We may never see a more overrated college basketball team than the 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats. No one knew how great the gap was between their ranking and their actual abilities at the beginning of the season, but Notre Dame is better than this.
The Fighting Irish have developed a program that's hard to beat at home, and they have defended their turf against ranked opponents time and again over the past few years. There was no reason to rush after this 14-point victory. But hey—that's what Manti Te'o wanted.
Yep—that was him leading the halting, uncertain charge onto the court.
15. Nebraska Corner Demolishes Field-Rusher
Infraction: Being a punk buster who can't handle losing.
This fail wasn't on the fans. It was on Nebraska's Kellen Huston—the Cornhusker cornerback who cold-cocked a Missouri fan after losing a huge one to the Tigers in 2003.
14. Wake Forest 'Upsets' No. 18 NC State
Skip to the 3:40 mark for the rush.
Infraction: Rushing against an in-state rival of middling ranking.
NC State's program has made a fine return to form, but there's no reason for Wake Forest to not expect to beat the Wolfpack at Lawrence Joel.
I appreciate the enthusiasm, but Wake Forest is far from a scrub factory, and the fans know they're better than this.
13. Denver Fans Storm After Beating New Mexico State
Infraction: Trickling onto the court after defeating a middling New Mexico State team.
They didn't even acknowledge their own players.
While they celebrated lustily, not a single University of Denver fan offered as much as a high five to their players after the team defeated New Mexico State in 2013. They just ran onto the court for no other reason than to stand on it.
If that's not convincing, just look at the team's reaction. The players shared a single chest bump before calmly walking off to the handshake line. That's all you need to know about how insane this victory was.
12. UCLA Half Court Rush
Infraction: Fans of the most storied college basketball program in the country half-job a court-rush after beating an unranked team.
John Wooden was still alive when UCLA students tried to rush the court after defeating the Washington Huskies in 2010. For his sake, I'm glad they failed.
Granted, the Bruins won this game in electrifying fashion. Former walk-on Mustafa Abdul-Hamid knocked down a buzzer-beater with fragments of a second left on the clock, and it's easy to see how fans could get caught up in this moment.
That being said, Wooden probably would've bit it right then and there had Bruins fans reveled at half court over a win against unranked Washington.
11. No. 13 UNC Beats No. 4 Duke in Chapel Hill, Rush Court
Infraction: Fans of a ranked, blueblood program rushing the court after a home win against a bitter in-state rival.
Beating Duke in the 2011 ACC conference title game was the sweetest rush for Tar Heels fans. They spread these kinds of moments on toast in Chapel Hill.
That being said, you've won five national championships. Your program is one of the rare institutions that aspiring basketball stars grow up dreaming about. You can't show Duke—a team you hate to the marrow—you're this excited to beat it.
10. IU Fans Rush After Beating No. 20 Illinois
Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
Infraction: Fans of a blueblood program rushing after beating an overrated Fighting Illini team.
As an IU basketball fan, this is one of those moments that all the bourbon in the world can't wash away.
In the midst of an institutional trough, the embattled supporters of Indiana basketball let temporary excitement get the best of them and rushed the court after defeating No. 20 Illinois in Bloomington in 2011.
It was a rare cathartic moment for a people who had suffered long in the post-Kelvin Sampson era, but rushing the court after beating a Bruce Weber-coached team is something these eyes can't ever un-see.
9. Trojans Fans Manage the Tiniest Court-Rush
Infraction: The ittiest, bittiest court-rush ever.
USC basketball fans deserved a good court-rush after beating No. 11 Arizona in February. The only problem was that the storming involved a grand total of 50-60 fans.
As my grandfather would say, "There weren't enough people there to start a fight."
8. IU Fans Rush Against Unranked Minnesota
Infraction: Fans of a team with five national championships in the rafters rushing the court after beating an unranked Minnesota team.
I went through the Dark Ages of Indiana basketball.
For some reason, the universe declared that my college experience at Indiana would take place during the worst four-year span in the basketball program's history, and I know too well how low things were in the post-Sampson era.
That being said, I'll never be able to justify the tepid court rush that took place after the Hoosiers beat unranked Minnesota in 2010. The Golden Gophers weren't even a top-five Big Ten team.
As I've written before, it was so inconsequential a win that I can't even find video of the rush.
7. Texas Tech Fans Embarrass Themselves
Warning: Video contains NSFW language.
Infractions: I have no idea where to start.
If you can hear yourself think at the end of a game, it's probably not the right moment to rush the field.
After Texas Tech beat TCU—a barely ranked opponent—in December, the student section rushed the field like it had beaten the Chicago Bears.
The rest of the stands, however, sat there quiet and nonplussed. You can even hear them saying "Stop." Again, probably not a good sign for a field-rush.
6. Court-Stormers Ruin the Point Spread
Infraction: Rushing prematurely, losing sports bettors money.
Overexcited Iona fans rushed the court before the end of a game against Manhattan College in 2013. The Gaels were up 60-55 on the Jaspers, and fans stormed onto the field of play in the final moments.
The early interruption resulted in a team technical foul for Iona, and Manhattan hit two free throws to bring the end score to 60-57, ruining the four-point spread favoring the Gaels. Many Iona backers lost money.
Lets be clear: I have no sympathy for people who bet on sports and lose.
Gambling is just that—a gamble. Putting your money down on athletics cheapens the game in a way. That said, running on the court early and drawing a technical is never OK.
5. San Diego State Fans Go Insane over NIT Quarterfinal Victory
Infraction: Rushing the court over an NIT victory.
San Diego State fans went ape-snacks after their Aztecs defeated Saint Mary's College in the NIT tournament in 2009.
Granted, while it's just the NIT, you've got to be happy when your team wins a championship, right?
What? They didn't the whole thing? This was a quarterfinal game?
Oh, God. That's just...wow.
4. Missouri Fans Rush After Beating No. 20 Texas A&M
Infraction: Fans rushing the field after beating a team ranked 15 spots lower than their own.
I get it, Missouri. I really do.
It's easy to understand why Missouri football fans would be excited after winning a game that would send them to an SEC title game against Auburn. That's big news.
However, beating a team ranked far below yours without any last-second heroics shouldn't cause this kind of reaction. Had it been 'Bama, Auburn or Ohio State—go nuts. Get down with your bad self.
But defeating a three-loss, 20th-ranked Texas A&M squad isn't a rush-worthy victory.
3. Utah Utes Rush the Field 3 Times
Infractions: Rushing the field three times, drawing a penalty that could've lost their team the game.
Three. Damn. Times.
Thrice the Utah Utes student section rushed the field, and twice they were turned back due to one little problem—the game wasn't over.
Premature elation is a problem for some people, and I while I can't condone it, I can understand the first rush. But the second time is inexcusable, and in this case it pushed the BYU kicker 15 yards closer to a game-tying kick.
Granted, he didn't make the kick, but this game could've ended in a dirge for Utah.
2. Premature Court-Rush FTL!
Infraction: Premature rushing resulting in a loss for their team.
After staging a miraculous comeback, a high school basketball team in Washington had a certain victory snuffed out by its own fan section.
Down two with a second left on the clock, senior Alan Haagen was fouled shooting a three pointer. While he missed the field goal, he managed to capitalize on his three free throws and raised his team to 72-71 lead over rival school Camas High.
Fans were so elated after the last free throw that they stormed onto the court, according to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo! Sports. With students on the court and time still remaining on the clock, referees were forced to whistle a technical foul. Camas senior Jordan Lenard made his two free throws and Hockinson lost the game.
1. 'The Play': A Monument to Field-Rushing Failure
Infraction: The biggest field-rush fail in the world.
If there were a museum dedicated to failure in field-rushing, an entire wing would be dedicated to "The Play."
On display in this wing would be a wall filled with portraits of Stanford marching band members painted in oil, each with their own caption in tasteful calligraphy.
"He wasn't down?"—Joe Everyman, trumpet.
"You've got to be kidding."—Kate Anybody, tuba.
"Ouch."—Gary Tyrrell, trombone.
Had the band stayed put, the final play of Cal's 1982 win over Stanford would've been a bright but brief moment of glory for the Golden Bears. But they didn't stay on the sidelines, and the result was unforgettable.
Thank you, Stanford band.
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