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The ACC doesn’t punish schools for court storms. What do other college conferences do?

The concept of court-storming — and if it’s ever appropriate — has been part of the college basketball ethos for decades. It’s seen a renewed debate in recent weeks after an Ohio State fan collided with Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and, most recently, when a Wake Forest student ran into Duke’s Kyle Filipowski on Saturday.

Demon Deacons fans rushed the floor in Joel Coliseum after Cameron Hildreth forced a turnover by Duke’s Mark Mitchell on the inbound, icing the 83-79 upset.

Chaos ensued as the floor turned into a sea of bodies. The only problem? Duke players weren’t off the floor nor protected by security, leading to the collision between Filipowski and multiple fans.

Duke’s Filipowski injured when fans storm court at Wake Forest. Coaches, player react

This isn’t the first time a Triangle team — or Duke, for that matter — has grappled with the consequence of the practice.

N.C. State basketball fans stormed the court on Jan. 12, 2013, after knocking off then-No. 1 Duke at PNC Arena. Wheelchair-bound fan, Will Privette, was pushed onto the court during the event but was knocked from his wheelchair. Wolfpack player CJ Leslie lifted him from the crowd to safety.

A decade later, the same question remains: What can be done to protect players, coaches and fans while also maintaining the things that make college basketball fun? Can it be done?

“We have been and will continue to be, in contact with both Duke and Wake Forest regarding what happened following [Saturday’s] game,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. “Across college athletics, we have seen far too many of these incidents that put individuals at serious risk, and it will require the cooperation of all — including spectators — to ensure everyone’s well-being. As a conference, we will continually assess with our schools the best way to protect our student-athletes, coaches, and fans.”

How much do conferences fine teams for storming the court?

Nine conferences — the Atlantic 10, Big East, Big South, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Southeastern and West Coast — levy fines to home schools under certain court-storming circumstances. ESPN reports some conferences have specific penalties, while others may have more general language about discipline.

The SEC previously passed a rule in 2005 fining an offending school for not protecting visiting teams. It implemented higher fines for court and field storming this year. Programs must pay $100,000 for the first offense, $250,000 for the second, and $500,000 for a third.

LSU was hit with a $100,000 fine last week after fans rushed the court following a men’s basketball win over Kentucky.

The fine is not levied if the visiting players and game officials are able to leave the venue before the fans reach the field or court.

The Pac-12’s fines start at $25,000 and escalate to $50,000 and $100,000 for additional offenses. The Big East fines schools $5,000. The Big Ten does not levy a fine until the third offense.

The Big 12 fined the University of Central Florida $25,000 last month after its fans stormed the court following a win over Kansas. The league said UCF violated the league’s principles and standards of sportsmanship.

“Ensuring a safe environment for all players, coaches, officials and support staff is paramount,” Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said in a statement. “Although well intended, the UCF event management policy did not provide for the protection of the visiting team and game officials to safely exit the court.”

The ACC does not have a policy in place.

What do coaches say about banning court storming?

Blue Devils head coach Jon Scheyer wants court-storming banned. Demon Deacons coach Steve Forbes said he, too, dislikes the practice.

“When are we going to ban court-storming?” Scheyer said. “How many times does a player have to get into something where they get punched? Or they get pushed or they get taunted right in their face? It’s a dangerous thing.”

Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the floor as students rush the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.
Duke’s Kyle Filipowski (30) is helped off the floor as students rush the court after Wake Forest’s 83-79 victory over Duke at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst and Duke alumnus, went viral for his comments last month, saying there need to be stronger penalties.

“The passion of it is great. I love the passion. Fans do not belong on the court, ever. And players don’t belong in the stands,” Bilas said. “Remember years ago, Marcus Smart went in the stands and everybody had a conniption fit over it. Players don’t belong in the stands, fans don’t belong on the court.”

Bilas told the Associated Press he doesn’t think the fines are enough. There should be additional consequences. He said Monday morning on “First Take” there doesn’t even need to be a ban.

“One time, all you have to do is once they’re on the court, don’t let them off. Just say, ‘You’re all detained,’ and give them all citations or arrest them if you want to,” Bilas said. “Then court storming will stop the next day. There’s no accountability for this. The fans feel like it’s an entitlement, the universities like it and, the truth is, we like it.”

N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said during a weekly ACC Zoom call Monday the practice needs to be banned outright or organized. He suggested giving teams two minutes to leave the court before fans rush. He thinks it should be possible to announce a coordinated court-storming.

“A few years back, we were playing Duke here at home and Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) was coaching. I said to him, ‘How do we get your players off the floor, because it looks like our students are getting ready to storm the court,’” Keatts said. “The communication part up front has to be there, but I think it can be much more organized. You don’t have to storm the court when the clock hits zero. You get the same effect. You can make it two minutes later…then everybody gets the chance. The goal is to have fun and celebrate with your team, not to have any type of controversy with the other team.”

Butler athletic director Barry Collier told The Athletic, “There’s a difference between trying to stop court-storming and trying to prevent injury. I’d prefer we chase the latter of those two, and then I think we’d be in a better place.”

In some venues, a home team’s security staff surrounds the visiting team to provide protection from any fans. Some schools put up rope and prohibit non-credentialed people from entering the area. Duke stations security guards around the floor at Cameron Indoor Stadium, no matter the outcome or opponent.

The sentiment of figuring out how to do this safely for all parties involved seems to be shared by many on social media, including those in college athletics.

For right now, though, that appears to be a task for the ACC.