first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ There’s few greater thrills than having your college team knock down a Top 25 opponent at home, prompting an exciting frenzy of storming the court or field. Syracuse men’s basketball has beaten a Top 10 team every season since 2004-05, and SU can continue that streak Wednesday night with a win over No. 10 North Carolina.But if Syracuse pulls off the upset, several safety experts caution against the routine.Since Syracuse football upset then-No. 17 Virginia Tech on the gridiron in October 2016, there have been four additional instances in which fans, many of them students, stormed the playing surface. A year ago, Syracuse basketball fans stormed the Carrier Dome court three times. Last fall, fans rushed the football field after the Orange beat the defending national champion Clemson Tigers. Several fans were hospitalized, including Justin Heath, who broke both of his legs. After two surgeries, his GoFundMe said he would miss three to six months of work.The chaos that ensued included no life-threatening injuries, but safety experts advise against storming the court and field for fear that severe injuries are inevitable. Students may brush aside that notion, but this much is clear: Storming the court creates an unsafe environment, safety experts said.“Whenever you have tens of thousands of people, it is inherently an unsafe situation,” said Eric Oddo, a senior policy analyst at University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “At big games, the lines can get really backed up. Or if large crowds form on the playing surface, with field storming, that can be a big vulnerability for someone getting trampled.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the Carrier Dome, court-storming may be even more dangerous than other venues, experts said. The student section crowd surges forward from farther behind the basket than most other student sections. There is a walkway and several rows of seats between the court and student section, increasing the likelihood of a fall or trample, they said.Jessica Sheldon | Staff PhotographerStorming the court has long been a tradition of college basketball. It may have begun in 1961, when fans entered a fray at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a game between North Carolina and Duke. Then, at Wisconsin in 1993, about 70 students were treated for injuries, including some who were not breathing when met by medical personnel. Two years ago, Arizona head coach Sean Miller demanded punitive action for a court-storming after his team lost at Colorado.The Southeastern Conference, which outlawed court-storming in 2004, fined Vanderbilt and Auburn $100,000 each in the 2015-16 season for not preventing fans from rushing their home courts after victories against Kentucky. It was a second offense for each school, and a third offense could result in a $250,000 tab.The ACC does not have a league-wide policy, so Syracuse has not been fined in any of its five recent field- or court-stormings. The NCAA prohibits court-storming at NCAA Tournament games to maintain a safe environment. The Pac-12, meanwhile, can fine programs $25,000 for the first offense, $50,000 for the second and up to $100,000 for the third offense.Kevin Camelo | Digital Design EditorSome of the scariest moments in event safety center on crowd management issues, said James Demeo, an event security consultant based in Raleigh, North Carolina. For this reason, students should think twice before rushing the court, he said. The greatest danger and potential liability is the push of the crowd rushing down stairs, over tables, and past posts to get to the court, Demeo said.Gil Fried, a professor at the University of New Haven who studies security best practices, said extra precautions are implemented for safety reasons.“(Security staff) are not trying to be jerks,” Fried said. “All it takes is one incident for people to say, ‘why don’t you do more?’”For fans who do not wish to storm the court, Fried advises leaving a minute or two early, before the buzzer sounds. If you want to watch the end of the game from your seat, Fried said fans should know who is sitting around them. He said it would be worthwhile for venues to educate fans on the safety risks of court-storming, perhaps by showing a video on the screen before the game ends. He suggests that students try working with friends to exit safely as a group during a court-storming.“It’s about being aware of your surroundings,” Fried said. “It’s so critical. The more you talk about that, the better it’s going to be.” Comments Published on February 20, 2018 at 9:42 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21last_img

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