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CU men’s basketball: Tad Boyle endorses court-storming … to a point

Fans and players celebrate on the court after Colorado knocked off No. 9 Arizona on Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Fans and players celebrate on the court after Colorado knocked off No. 9 Arizona on Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.

Tad Boyle expresses genuine empathy for the stance taken by Arizona coach Sean Miller in regard to court-storming in college basketball.

Nevertheless, if the potential of making a lifelong memory by surging onto the floor after a marquee win is what helps fill the student section at the Coors Events Center on a regular basis, Boyle is all for it.

On Friday, the Colorado Buffaloes reconvened after a day off following Wednesday’s critical victory against the ninth-ranked Wildcats, giving Boyle his first opportunity to respond to Miller’s postgame comments, in which the Arizona coach essentially said it is only a matter of time before “an Arizona player is going to punch a fan.”

“I certainly understand where Sean is coming from. I think he’s got some really valid points,” Boyle said. “He’s right — Arizona is the one school in our league that gets stormed when they lose on the road. I’m not a security expert. I understand where he is coming from and there are two sides to every coin. And I certainly see his side and there is part of me that really agrees with it.

“On the other hand, I’m the coach of Colorado. We’re challenging our fans and students especially to fill the student section. If they have to storm the court to get themselves energized to come back for the next game, I’m all for it as long as nobody gets hurt.”

Moments after the CU student section poured onto the floor following Wednesday night’s win, Miller used his postgame media session as a platform to discuss an issue he believes is “falling on deaf ears.”

No doubt there are genuine safety concerns, and Miller made a valid point when he said Arizona is the only team in the Pac-12 Conference that typically is on the losing end of court-storming sessions. But during Thursday night’s broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks of Utah’s home win against Arizona State, league commissioner Larry Scott refuted the idea that the issue has not been discussed among the member schools.

“We’ve been having discussions about not just court-storming, but field-storming in football the last couple years,” Scott said during the broadcast. “There have been proposals that have been put forward I’ve endorsed that we ought to have hard-and-fast rules. Our schools have not wanted to go so far as to prohibit court-storming, the feeling being that it’s part of the collegiate atmosphere, it’s fun, and we don’t want to take the joy out of the spectator experience.”

It will be Senior Day on Sunday as the Buffs host Arizona State in the home finale, and Boyle is hopeful the lingering buzz from Wednesday’s victory will lead to another full house as CU looks to avoid a letdown with its NCAA tournament fate all but cemented.

If not, Boyle believes Wednesday’s celebration will have been much ado about nothing.

“If our student section on Sunday is half full, I’m totally against court-storming because it was a one-time deal and it’s about Arizona. It’s not about Colorado,” Boyle said. “That’s my challenge to our students. I love it, but I’d like to get to the point with this program — and I said this two years ago when we did it against Kansas and my stance hasn’t changed — is I want to get our program to the point where we beat Arizona or any top-ranked team we don’t storm the court because we expect it. It’s not an upset.”

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