Butler's court-storming celebration brings on a fine from the Big East
The Bulldogs upset Villanova last week, and on Sunday night, the Big East handed down a punishment
The upset prompted Butler's faithful to storm the floor at Hinkle Fieldhouse, which isn't something that happens very often because Butler is rarely an underdog at home, but more than that, it seldom has a top-10 team come to its house -- and then beats said team.
Nova was No. 1, then lost its winning streak at 20, and the victory signaled, once and for all, Butler's status as a perennial Big East contender. The fans rushing the floor did not disrupt Villanova's team in any capacity. The security measures in place allowed for a party on the hardwood without incident.
But that court-storm act did violate Big East policy. The conference has established a precedent here, and on Sunday night the league fined Butler.
"We are very grateful for the incredible support of Butler's fans and especially their students, whose fervent support of the men's basketball team has made Hinkle Fieldhouse one of the most exciting home courts in college basketball," the Big East said in a statement. "However, the fact remains that court storming is a highly dangerous activity and has the potential for serious consequences, which we as a conference are unable to condone or encourage in any form. Like other conferences, in an effort to ensure a safe playing environment, the Big East has a court storming policy which limits access to the playing court and prohibits spectators from entering the competition area before, during or after a game. While we appreciate the enthusiasm associated with Wednesday's contest, we believe it is appropriate to enforce the existing policy and impose the prescribed fine, which we will donate to a charity designated by Butler and the Big East."
The fine for a first offense is $5,000. And the school will be donating that money to a charity, Be The Match. That charity has particularly strong meaning to BU, as it's the charity connected to the legacy of the late Andrew Smith, who helped Butler to two Final Fours. Read up on Project 44 here. It's a tremendous cause, and anyone who is in good health can and should be contributing to such an ambitious undertaking.
Court-storming is something that's become a part of college basketball over the past 20 years. Now, it doesn't have to be, but the fact is that students are going to do this until years of resistance changes groupthink impulse. Until then, and hopefully long before anyone gets seriously injured, charitable causes can be major benefactors in the wake of memorable college basketball upsets.
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