Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller is tired of seeing opposing fans rush the court when his team loses on the road.
In his postgame press conference following Arizona's 75-72 loss at Colorado on Wednesday, he said the following, via Ezra Amacher of the Daily Wildcat:
Here are the bulk of Sean Miller's comments on court storming in the Pac-12 pic.twitter.com/MXiU1RbfIM— Ezra Amacher (@EzraAmacher) February 25, 2016
Greg Byrne, Arizona's athletic director, later backed Miller on Thursday:
First, congrats to CU on their win. Coach Miller & I have both been asking for the last several years to have court storming addressed.— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) February 25, 2016
Unfortunately, we have been stormed in 10 of our last 11 road losses. This has to be addressed because someone is going to get hurt.— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) February 25, 2016
Arizona is ranked ninth in the nation and is consistently one of the premier programs in the country. What's more, Colorado's win was critical for its NCAA tournament hopes.
Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com recently had the Buffaloes in the "work left to do" category of his most recent bubble watch for the Big Dance. He set the stage for Wednesday's contest: "The good news? Tad Boyle's team gets to play Arizona in Boulder on Wednesday night. Yeah, yeah, every game matters. Of course. Still: That's a massive game."
It certainly was a massive game, and the students responded in kind:
Before the 2015-16 season, a different conference (the SEC) announced, "A school will be fined $50,000 for the first time fans storm a competition area. The fine increases to $100,000 for a second offense and $250,000 for the third and subsequent offenses," via David Ching of ESPN.
The previous fines were $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000, respectively. Then-SEC commissioner Mike Slive cited safety as the main impetus:
This is designed to be a deterrent. This is designed to try to change the culture about rushing the field, understanding that it's viewed by some as a tradition. But it's a tradition that runs into the question of health and safety of not only the fans themselves but the coaches and players.
Court-storming made national headlines earlier this season when columnist Randy Peterson fractured his leg following Iowa State's comeback win over rival Iowa. Peterson clarified on The Dan Patrick Show (h/t the Des Moines Register), "I was not trampled. I was knocked to the ground, but as soon as I was on the ground, there was security all over me."
In the Arizona-Colorado game itself, Josh Scott led the way with 26 points and nine rebounds, and the defense held Arizona to 3-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Arizona's Allonzo Trier had a three-pointer rim off at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.