The Big East Conference was given the opportunity to enforce its policies against court storming after Butler’s students streamed onto the Hinkle Fieldhouse hardwood last Wednesday. The celebration wasn’t reckless or violent, and the teams and coaches were able to exit the court without incident.
As a result, the league has fined the Butler program $5,000 for the infraction, to be paid to the Be The Match bone marrow registry program (a 501(c)(3) charitable organization).
The conference statement on the fine follows:
This past Wednesday night, hundreds of Butler fans celebrated the Bulldogs’ win over visiting Villanova by running onto the court immediately following the game’s conclusion. Fortunately, due to the preparedness of the Butler athletics staff, the game referees and players and coaches from both teams were able to leave the court area in a safe and orderly manner, and from all reports no one sustained injuries or was otherwise harmed.
We are very grateful for the incredible support of Butler’s fans and especially their students, whose fervent support of the men’s basketball team has made Hinkle Fieldhouse one of the most exciting home courts in college basketball. However, the fact remains that court storming is a highly dangerous activity and has the potential for serious consequences, which we as a conference are unable to condone or encourage in any form. Like other conferences, in an effort to ensure a safe playing environment, the Big East has a court storming policy which limits access to the playing court and prohibits spectators from entering the competition area before, during or after a game. While we appreciate the enthusiasm associated with Wednesday’s contest, we believe it is appropriate to enforce the existing policy and impose the prescribed fine, which we will donate to a charity designated by Butler and the Big East.
The fine will be paid from the funds of the Bulldog Club; the program’s fundraising program.