Dear Coach Haith,
I write to you today with a concern I developed while standing in the student section on Sunday, Dec. 3, when Miami defeated the No. 24 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. It was a truly exhilarating experience for all of the students in the stands. However, the atmosphere was partially spoiled, when security prevented students from “rushing the court.”
While this is certainly not the most pressing issue at the university, rushing the court is a time-honored tradition in college basketball. When an underdog upsets the favorite in college basketball, the fans rush the court, to congratulate their victorious squad, and join together in a bonding experience.
With the game in hand, the ‘Canes in the stands were ready to rock. You turned to the student section, pumped your fists towards us, and the excitement nearly blew the roof off of the building. Sensing a signature win for the fledgling program, students descended from the top of the BankUnited Center towards the court, ready to charge and celebrate alongside you. However, the charge was thwarted as security choked the aisles, prohibiting students from moving. Cheers turned to anger, and it truly took the edge off an amazing night.
So what is to be done? Coach, I am aware that you are not the manager of the Andy Frain Service, who provides security to the BankUnited Center. But you are a man who has a loud voice. Anyone who knows you and your involvement with this basketball program realizes your focus is on elevating Miami to the national stage in college basketball. You know more than anyone else how fans storming the court can provide a moment to remember, a point in time that a team can build upon.
There have been arguments made that fans rushing a venue can be dangerous. While this is true, the number of students in the stands for the Georgia Tech game does not compare to the numbers who rush in other venues across the country. The crowd was excited, but peaceful. There was no true hatred directed at Georgia Tech, only joy towards the Hurricanes.
Instead, the fans were spurned, denied their opportunity to rush. This not only made the students upset, it made them look stupid. What do you do when your team defeats a ranked program? You rush the court. Anyone who heard about this hard-fought victory, at home, against the No. 24 Yellow Jackets, would expect a rush. But no. And the claim that Hurricane fans are sup-par continues.
So, Coach Haith, I implore you. A direct response must be given to the students at this university. Why isn’t storming the court allowed? If not, what makes Miami so different from every other college basketball-playing institution in the country? This question must be answered soon. Both you and I want that desire to rush to spring up again, when Miami plays the Duke Blue Devils on Jan. 14. And it will be a lot more difficult to explain if Miami defeats Duke and the question is still in the air.
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.