After the Texas Tech win over then ranked #2 West Virginia, the Texas Tech students and fanbase stormed the court. It was marred by West Virginia forward Wesley Harris punching Bubba Jenning’s son, Brooks Jennings:
A West Virginia player threw a punch at a fan after the Texas Tech crowd stormed the court pic.twitter.com/rVfA0J2uRv
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 14, 2018
After the game, some of the West Virginia fans made fun of Texas Tech fans for rushing the court and now the Big 12 has handed down the punishment for the incident. Let’s separate a few things here.
1. Court storming should no longer be allowed. I think it’s fun as hell, normally no one gets hurt and it’s all in good fun, but we probably need to separate the fans and the players because there’s the potential for too much to happen. In fact, the Big 12 ruled today that Texas Tech would be fined $25,000 and Harris would be reprimanded:
“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The Texas Tech Department of Athletics has a written event management policy which was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of the visiting team game participants. Although the Big 12 Conference does not currently have a policy prohibiting spectators from entering playing areas for post-game celebrations, it is of utmost importance that home game management provide adequate security measures for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators.”
2. West Virginia basically did the same thing against Baylor last year, when #9 West Virginia beat #1 Baylor 89-68, the Mountaineer fans stormed the court. Remind you, these were two top ten teams and West Virginia’s high-mindedness of “act like you’ve been there” when Texas Tech stormed the court on Saturday falls on deaf ears because their fans like to have fun too. The difference is that their players don’t know how to lose gracefully and their players will act violently when students from other teams .
3. Please note that the West Virginia staff did nothing to protect the Baylor players. That’s okay and there should not be an expectation of protecting a few handful of players and staff in a situation like this. It’s an open court, it’s hard to protect players in this situation, but there’s an expectation that the players will sift through the crowd, not assault anyone, and go to the locker room.
4. It is disappointing that Harris didn’t get at least a game suspension for assaulting someone.
5. I shouldn’t be surprised at the Big 12’s decision, but here’s what I really want. Consistency. Just be consistent in what you do going forward, either you ban court storming going forward or every team is fined $25,000 for court storming because it is literally impossible to have a safe game environment when a few thousand people are rushing the court.