Dick Vitale is putting an end to this farce: North Carolina fans shouldn't rush the court after their team beats Duke. It’s as simple as that.
But rush UNC did.
The Tar Heels secured their eighth straight win on Thursday night, riding a late-game rally to a 74-66 win over mortal rival Duke.
High on adrenaline and Duke hate, UNC students poured onto the court to celebrate their decisive victory. The rush provoked a predictable reaction from many fans and pundits, who couldn’t help but facepalm at the sight of UNC students' hysterical elation over vanquishing the Blue Devils.
Leading the charge of dissent was ESPN's Dick Vitale, who was on hand calling the game. Via Dan Lyons of College Spun, UNC’s decision to storm baffled Dickie V.
“I’m really surprised they are rushing the court,” Vitale said. “This is North Carolina.”
Indeed, it is North Carolina—a team that’s developed a knack for losing winnable games and snatching victory from sure defeat.
Vital’s surprise probably stems from the wild inconsistency of UNC's 2013-14 season, which has included wins over highly ranked Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky programs. Their record also includes losses to Miami, UAB and Belmont. In other words, while their team's performance has been anything but predictable, Vitale probably doesn't consider UNC students a battered, storm-thrashed fanbase stuck in the doldrums.
Big wins have come in fits and spurts for the Tar Heels, but the students at Chapel Hill aren’t exactly marooned on an island of disappointment, Castaway style. They haven’t been sitting outside the Dean Smith Center with coconut halves praying for a drop of win to fall in this lonely world.
While Dickie V might’ve been against this particular storming, a wave of pro-rushers were quick to speak out against such “fun policing.”
Before all you fun police put yu badges on...realize that those UNC students are kids...let them enjoy it.— Matt Harris (@matt__harris) February 21, 2014
UNC's court storm is cool. I mean it's a rival. You should always be able to court storm a rival IMO— Project Pat Riley (@dBdaSportsGuru) February 21, 2014
And wait for the No-Fun Police to admonish UNC's student population.— Nick Philip (@nickXphilthy) February 21, 2014
Granted, court rushing is like Wu-Tang: It’s for the children, the students. If it makes them happy, some find that to be reason enough.
Then again, one day these children will graduate and notice the five banners hanging up in the Dean Smith Center—two having come in the last 10 years—and perhaps think differently.
Until then, party on Wayne.
To rush or not to rush? That is the endlessly annoying question.