An Open Letter To The Nation’s Student Ticketholders

Posted by jstevrtc on January 28th, 2010

Rush The Court Central Command  
RTC Towers  
28 January 2010  

Even Duke RTCs Occasionally

Hey.  How you doin’ out there?  Good, good to hear.  You know, it doesn’t seem that long ago (even though it was) that all of us here at RTC were college students.  God, those were some sweet times.  Lining up for tickets, going to every home game and as many road games as we could, turning a two-hour game into a whole-day event, making signs, coming up with catcalls for our opponents…ah, such wonderful years.  The game was ours back then, and we’ve since turned it over to you.  And we love what you’ve done with it.  Fantastic job, really.  It’s a great time to be a fan of the game, especially if you’re a student.  Strong work.  

One thing we’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks or so, though, is an increase in the number of court rushes, or “RTCs,” after wins.  Oh yeah, we know how fun it is.  We’ve got a few of those under our belts.  But it’s that increase that we wanted to talk to you about.  That’s why we’re writing.  We want to talk about how it’s being overdone, and not just by a little.  All the guys here at RTC, after four five a number of years as undergrads, we only had maybe one or two apiece.  It should be that rare.  Hey, calm down, we’re not trying to ruin your good time.  When it’s time to rush, we want you out there.  But it’s kind of like when you’re going out at night — we want you to have standards.  And, like so many times AFTER going out at night, we definitely don’t want you to wake up the next day, have the memory come flooding back to you, and have that “Oh, God…what have I done?!?” moment.  You know, like when you realize someone’s over there, so you roll over, turn off the camera, and…well, never mind.  That’s a story for another post.  Anyway, let’s get back to how this court-rushing exuberance has gotten out of hand.  

Good court coverage. Extra points for usage of blimp.

You know how hard it is for us in particular to say that.  But people are talking.  Gregg Doyel is talking about you.  Seth Davis is talking about you.  Other bloggers are talking about you.  Every commentator on TV is talking about you.  And if you were involved in one of the recent RTCs that was obviously uncalled for, then your families, friends, and neighbors are talking about you.  None of it’s flattering.  You don’t want that, do you?  People are definitely e-mailing and tweeting and commenting, asking us about it because of what we call ourselves around here.  Again, we don’t want to spoil the fun.  We know that RTCing will always exist.  There’s no more chance of it going away than there is of crowds actually taking Bob Knight’s advice and chanting “Great Job!” after victories over rival teams (though we despise the “overrated” chant).  It’s just not realistic to think it will ever stop.  But like we said — this is all about having standards. 

So what should these standards for the RTC be?  Glad you asked.  As far as we’re concerned, the best work on this topic was written by ESPN’s Pat Forde back in 2006, and we encourage you to read the original piece.  It’s a good set of starting guidelines.  Forde’s is the criteria we see cited most often by other bloggers/writers, usually without credit.  In covering this topic last year, we noted that as good as that set of rules is, it’s more of a starting point.  We made some small amendments back then, and the final product was what you’ve seen us refer to as the Modified Forde Criteria, or MFC, here on the site.  

Michigan RTC on Connecticut, 1.17.2010

After the recent uptick in RTC’s, though, we revisited the issue.  We took our Modified Forde Criteria and tried to fill in gaps where certain situations were uncovered.  And do you know what we realized?  Making long lists of rules about this is pointless, sucks the fun right out of it, and it made us want to go outside and lie down on the interstate.  It’s not worth it to over-think this, and it’s not realistic to expect a few thousand fans — most of them students like you, to whom we’re writing this open letter — to be sitting in the stands, wondering if they should be rushing the court minutes or seconds before it happens.  We’re proud basketball geeks — but even we’re not geeks of that magnitude.  

So instead of serving you with a massive list of rules — which you’d ignore, anyway — regarding which courts should and should not be rushed, we’ve ditched the MFC.  We’re going to treat you like adults and count on something else:  your God-given instinct.  

Northwestern RTC on Purdue, 1.16.2010

Yeah, that’s a little risky, but we think you can handle it.  You see, we think you already know when the RTC is right or wrong.  Charleston fans…you knew before going into that game against North Carolina that if you pulled out a win, especially in overtime, there was a good chance that court was getting rushed.  That was legit.  Are you telling us that you felt the same excitement against…WoffordWe think you knew that was wrong. But you did it anyway, and spoiled the one that really mattered.  Admit it, Indiana fans.  You knew it didn’t feel right when you RTC’d after beating an unranked Minnesota team.  You folks over at Michigan and Providence?  You knew rushing against a struggling Connecticut squad was wrong.  Those few people strolling (the worst kind of RTC) onto the court at UCLA from a couple of weeks ago…what do you think Coach Wooden would have thought of that?  

But hey, who doesn’t like a good, solid RTC when the time is right?  We couldn’t call our site Rush The Court if we weren’t a fan of fans taking a court after a victory that’s sweet and rare enough to deserve it. There have been some good ones, and we’ll give credit where it’s due.  That Northwestern RTC against Purdue back on January 16?  Definitely.  That was a big win over a tough opponent.  It probably felt right from the start, didn’t it?  Plus, it had good pace, the court was covered within a few seconds, nobody was caught out there who didn’t want to be there.  Well-timed and well-executed.  The Charleston win against UNC?  We’ve covered that — an overtime victory over one of the pillars of the game?  No question about that one, and you knew it from the beginning.  And we would have been a fan of the South Carolina RTC from Tuesday night after they beat Kentucky, except that there’s talk of some alleged incident involving DeMarcus Cousins during the RTC, which we’re suspiciously contemplating.  

Marvin Williams was a willing participant after hitting the last shot against Duke in 2005.

We know you’re thinking, “But how about those fans at Kansas State, huh?  They’re just Kansas State, and they beat #1 Texas and they DIDN’T rush!  What a waste!  Aren’t you going to get on them?!?”  Nope.  Because as great as it is, the RTC is never necessary.  It is always your prerogative not to do it.  Let’s be honest, pulling off an RTC tells the program that your team just beat that it’s a special occasion, that you’re amazed it happened.  It implies subservience.  You’re saying that the team you just beat really is bigger and badder than you.  There’s never anything wrong with sending the message, “Yes, we beat you.  And we think it’s no big deal.”  

We don’t mean to come down hard on you, we just want you to keep your wits about ya, OK?  Great.  You feel better?  Good!  Now get on out there, you little scamps, and root your teams home.  It’ll be March before we know it, and your squads really need you now.  

And if you take just one thing from this letter, we hope it’s the sentiment expressed in that Doyel article above that we’re assuming you clicked:  “When everything is celebrated, nothing is celebrated.”  

In other’re doing it too much, and you’re making it lame.  So calm it down.  


Your Friends at Rush The Court

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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8 responses to “An Open Letter To The Nation’s Student Ticketholders”

  1. JR says:

    I have to disagree with your last sentence. Yes, there is an increase across the country of RTC, but an RTC at Michigan does not affect Providence. Each school and fanbase wants that recognition of a big win. You say that when you were in college, you enjoyed it, so why are you complaining so much about it now? My point is, you never know how many times you are going to get to RTC. Like I said before, I had a chance to RTC against UNC but we pulled a K State and said we deserve to win. I never got another chance to see a big win at home where I could RTC and celebrate with the players and other students.

    How many times does C of C play on national tv? Not that many. There is that recruit who did not have UConn in his top 5, but after beating Texas and seeing the students go crazy, they were immediatley in his top 5. Students want to put on a good show for tv and recruits, so let it happen.

    If a school starts rushing every time, there is a legit complaint about that school. But just because each school wants to have their moment does not make it lame.

  2. rtmsf says:

    JR- both Charleston games were televised on one of the ESPNs, and they rushed both times. Within a month. I don’t think we can give them the benefit of the doubt if they’re doing it every time they win a game on national tv. The UNC game – absolutely! Charleston is 1/100th of UNC in prestige and history, even in a down year. Go wild, camp out there all night, build bonfires and burn the place down if you like. But Wofford? It doesn’t make sense. There are better recruiting strategies than that.

  3. JR says:

    Point heard and considered but ESPNU is different from ESPN.

  4. garik16 says:

    Love seeing that first pic, given that I’m there in that crowd somewhere (My Freshman year, the Dockery Shot).

    What’s interesting is that in all of these rules i’ve seen, people tend to get angry when school’s that ordinarily shouldn’t rush the floor in games, do rush the floor due to a win on a last second shot that is miraculous.

    Listen, I was there at Duke 77, VT, 75. And yes, Duke should never RTC against Virginia Tech, barring some mystical reversal of places. But Duke had just blown an over 10 point lead, and was down 1 with 1.7 seconds left on the clock. The Crowd was depressed, silent, in time out before the play. Zabien Dowdell (sp?) had even came over to the Crazies and started mocking them.

    So when McRoberts makes his only good play of his career with a perfect pass to dockery, who takes one dribble, shoots from the Coach K Court part of the floor and makes it for the miraculous win, the emotional rise the crowd got was so intense that it was IMPOSSIBLE for us NOT to storm the floor. As a a part of that crowd, you’re not thinking when it happens….you just feel like you have to do it.

    So in my mind, even the best teams’ fans ought to be forgiven for rushing based on miraculous shots with time expiring.

    (Also, if a top team hasn’t won a rivalry game in forever, I’d say that’s enough justification, but well…im making an excuse now for my friends who haven’t graduated to rush when Duke beats UNC in Cameron for the first time in 5 years.)

  5. rtmsf says:

    Fwiw, I agree that there are exceptions available for miraculous shots no matter the program. That one and the Stanford 04 one against Arizona both certainly qualify in my mind. There are others, I’m sure.

  6. rtmsf says:

    Do you think the students were thinking about the distinction between ESPN and ESPNU when they were deciding to rush. I don’t think they were. I think that any national tv (even CBS CS or FSN) was going to be good enough for them on that night.

  7. A few more posts like this, and you will find me on a street corner with a loudspeaker screaming:

  8. Mike says:

    The recent storming of the field from Minnesota after they beat Iowa last weekend gas brought this issue up at Big Ten schools as well. Some media are saying it’s poor form by the Gophers to rush the field while others are saying it’s an important rivalry win for a rebuilding program. There’s been a good debate at TC Huddle. I found your article searching for more opinions on the issue.

    Thought you might want to check it out. It’s enjoyable if nothing else:

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