Arizona coach Sean Miller fed up with court storming
Arizona coach Sean Miller has been an outspoken critic against court storming after watching his players become engulfed by opposing fans 10 times in their past 11 conference road losses.
Following the ninth-ranked Wildcats' latest court-storming loss, Wednesday night at Colorado, he's worried about what's next in the escalating issue.
''Eventually what's going to happen in the Pac-12 is this: An Arizona player is going to punch a fan. And they're going to punch the fan out of self-defense,'' Miller said after the Wildcats' 75-72 loss in Boulder.
''And when it happens, only when it happens, will everybody say `We have to do something so that when the game ends we have a deep breath to be able to leave the court. Or at least shake the other team's hand and then get to our locker room.'''
Miller has been a vocal proponent of better crowd control, suggesting after a road loss to Arizona State last season that schools should be fined $100,000 if fans storm the court.
After watching his players struggle to get through the crowd after the loss to Colorado, Miller spent a good portion of his postgame news conference discussing the court-storming issue.
''It's fallen on deaf ears because there's only one team right now that the court's stormed on and for three consecutive years anytime we lose a game on the road it's the same,'' he said.
''Some are more under control, some aren't. But if 7-foot, 250-pound Kaleb Tarczewski gets bumped literally three seconds after the game ends and he retaliates, what would be the response of our conference? What would be the response? If more teams were having the court stormed on them, I wouldn't be the only guy who's bringing it up.''
The Southeastern Conference has a system of escalating fines for court storming and the Big 12 can fine member schools or take away a future home game for failing to keep fans rushing the court or field.
The Pac-12 has no such measures in place and Miller had a pointed response when told Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was in attendance Wednesday night.
''He doesn't care,'' Miller said.
The Pac-12 responded on Thursday with a statement.
''Court and field storming is something that has been of concern,'' it said. ''The Conference and Commissioner (Larry Scott) have proposed rules with penalties to address this, but the universities have not supported such rules to date.''
Court storming has become a bigger issue in recent years as more fans have climbed out of the stands and onto the court after big wins.
Kansas coach Bill Self was pinned against a table last season after a loss against Kansas State, leading to the stricter guidelines. Earlier this season, Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register broke his leg after being knocked over when fans rushed the court in Ames following Iowa State's 83-82 home win over rival Iowa.
''Everybody gets bumped. It's that something has to happen to stop the mad rush. I'm only saying that for this: I'm going to be fine. Somebody can say whatever they want to me - spit, do whatever you want - but I'm worried about the players who are under my direction,'' Miller said.
''If we lose fine, let us get off the court, at least have some substance and control so that our guys aren't in a situation where a lawsuit could come because when that comes, then and only then, will everybody pay attention. But the whole thing we've talked about, it's falling on deaf ears right now.''