The SEC is threatening extreme punishment for fanbases who rush the field or court after big home wins. Two of the potential repercussions are an immediate forfeiture of the win that’s being celebrated, or ceding the rights to the winner’s next home game between the two teams. So LSU’s win over Alabama in Baton Rouge last year would’ve been immediately vacated, or the Tigers would be visiting Tuscaloosa for the next three seasons.
That’s a bit excessive, and if the point of the new regulation is to promote safety, it’s going to be hard to defend that stance when that on-field celebration erupts into a riot. However, instead of coming here with complaints, I’m offering solutions because, A) Rushing the court/field is merited in certain situations, and B) Please don’t take away the possibility of 60,000 Tennessee fans having a cathartic cigar with Josh Heupel and Hendon Hooker after beating the Crimson Tide for the first time in Nick Saban’s tenure.
Greenlight a potential storming before the game
The only problem I have with fans celebrating on the hardwood or 50-yard line is when it’s uncalled for. All upsets aren’t created equal, but after a few too many adult bevies, you can talk drunken college kids into doing just about anything. (This is the generation that grew up eating Tide pods.)
So how about a committee — with a student advisor on board — that weighs whether the W would be worthy of the celebration? Take all factors into consideration from the opponent, to drought between historic wins, program success/standing, and pent-up frustration, and then determine whether it’s worthy.
While I’m a proponent of acting like you’ve been there per Dr. Tom Osborne’s advice, no student currently enrolled in Lincoln remembers the Cornhuskers’ last monumental win, and you better believe if Nebraska ever beats a ranked opponent again, Big Red fans are trapezing all over Memorial Stadium.
There are a lot of gray areas, so the more scientific approach, the better. The key, though, would be to avoid motivating the opponent by declaring a field to be rush-able upon victory. That risks provoking the favorite, and that’s the last thing you want to do when you need an avalanche of breaks to come out on top.
My solution would be to keep the decision in-house, and then install a light on the field that turns green to indicate that it’s OK to hop the guardrail — or maybe just broadcast “Rush the field” on the jumbotron. That would give schools an opportunity to plan for the best-case scenario, bolster security, and idiot-proof all the outlets. You could even flood the field with ball pit balls or bubbles to add a little wrinkle to the party. (I got a great sand guy.)
Roll out a UFC cage for overzealous fans and sore loser
The real reason storming the field is dangerous is because of visiting players. The last thing any of them want to do on their way to the showers is to be accosted by a blacked-out moron talking shit. Jermaine Burton allegedly smacked a UT fan on the way to the locker room after that wild loss last fall, and who could blame him?
Well, Saban did, but that’s beside the point. How about letting the loser take out any hard feelings on somebody who is literally asking for it? I know more than a few patrons have the requisite amount of liquid courage in their bloodstream to put on a helmet and a pair of Sock ’Em Boppers.
It’s basically a bum fights spinoff, but it’s toothless SEC fans who have been brown-bagging liquor for the past 12 hours, and a future NFL D-linemen in place of Kimbo Slice. Imagine a post-game show doubling as a pre-fight show, and a night of pigskin punctuated by a few overhand rights?
I know this is different because LeGarrette Blount dropped a Boise State player and not a fan, but that was a nice little aperitif of adrenaline after three hours of it. All I know is the best part of a big win is reveling in the aftermath, and I want more nights featuring fans throwing goalposts in the Tennessee River, not less.