ESPN's Jay Bilas discusses the Duke-Wake Forest court storming on First Take. ESPN’s Jay Bilas discusses the Duke-Wake Forest court storming on First Take. (Awful Announcing on Twitter/X.)

There’s been a lot of discussion about if the practice of court storming should end following a sprained ankle for Duke’s Kyle Filipowski after a Wake Forest fan made contact with him Saturday. That court storming from Demon Deacons fans following their win over the Blue Devils led to conversation about banning the practice on the game broadcast, in post-game press conferences, on ESPN and CBS studio shows, and elsewhere. And on First Take Monday, ESPN’s Jay Bilas had a particularly pointed take on how to end court storming:

“The truth is, nothing’s going to change now. We’re going to talk about it, it’s going to go away, and nothing’s going to change. And if they wanted to stop it, they could stop it tomorrow. The administrations all use that security consultants tell them that it’s not a good idea to try stop the court storming, because that could cause more problems than it would solve.

“But you don’t have to stop the court storming. One time, all you have to do is once they’re on the court, don’t let them off. Just say, ‘You’re all detained,’ and give them all citations, or arrest them if you want to. And then court stormings will stop the next day.”

Bilas then went on to place blame for court stormings on all of fans, universities, and the media.

“There’s no accountability for this. The fans feel like it’s an entitlement. And the universities like it. And the truth is, we like it.”

He continued that line of thought about the media after that:

“Years ago, when fans would run out on the field or on the court during a game, it was network policy not to show that because we didn’t want to encourage it. So what does that say about the way we in the media use these images now? We can’t deny that we encourage it. Or at least tacitly approve of it.”

Bilas then went on to say that he doesn’t think action will actually be taken to end court storming.

“Everybody has to accept the responsibility for this. I don’t think it’s the right thing to allow this. But I know that it’s going to continue. This is not going to stop.”

Those are certainly strong takes from Bilas, especially when it comes to detaining, citing, or even arresting students who storm the court. And arrests in particular could have significant long-term consequences for students, especially if charges do wind up being filed.

Of course, Bilas has spoken out against the practice of court storming many times over the years. And he did so in strong terms again last month. After an Ohio State fan made contact with Iowa star Caitlin Clark following a court storming, Bilas went off on the practice on ESPN College GameDay:

“The passion of it is great. I love the passion. Fans do not belong on the court. Ever. Ever. And players don’t belong in the stands. ”

In that clip, too, Bilas noted that some conferences (especially the SEC) have rules that lead to heavy fines for court or field storming, but that doesn’t stop fans. There, he also noted that university leaders often embrace the practice, and discussed the media’s role as well.

“In the Southeastern Conference, the conference has deemed that a violation that will cost you a fine of 100,000. South Carolina stormed the court, and the President Emeritus ran out and promoted him running out on his own social media channel,” Bilas said. “They don’t care – they’ll pay it just for the visual, and put the pictures up in the locker room for recruiting. We love it. We put it on TV at the end of every highlight. We promote it – all media companies do. When somebody gets hurt, we’re going to get serious about it.”

Well, someone has now gotten hurt, and that’s amped up this discussion discussion further. But Filipowski’s injury (from a hit from a fan he called “intentional” afterwards) was far from the first or most serious seen from court storming. And in addition to impacting athletes on the field and fans who fall trying to rush a field or court, this sometimes impacts media as well, with Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson suffering a broken leg in a 2015 basketball court-storming. So there are definitely severe potential health consequences for many from court storming.

Update: CBS’ Seth Davis, who also criticized court storming Saturday, offered a take somewhat similar to Bilas’ on Twitter Monday. There, he said court storming doesn’t happen at NBA games because of the potential for “handcuffs”:

Whether anything here will actually happen to stop court storming remains up in the air. Bilas certainly doesn’t seem optimistic there will be action taken. But it is notable to see him proposing seemingly drastic and consequential measures that he feels would end the practice for good.

[Awful Announcing on Twitter/X]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.