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An unidentified West Virginia player appeared to throw a punch at a fan who stormed the court after the Mountaineers were upset by the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 72-71, on Saturday afternoon at United Supermarkets Arena.
The altercation can be viewed below, courtesy of Twitter user Matt Embry (via Sports Illustrated):
Sports Illustrated @SInow
A West Virginia player threw a punch at a fan after the Texas Tech crowd stormed the court https://t.co/rVfA0J2uRv
In 2015, the Big 12 passed measures that, according to the Associated Press, gave commissioner Bob Bowlsby “broad authority” to punish schools in the form of fines or the forfeiture of future home games if fans stormed the court.
The decision was facilitated by an incident after Kansas State upset Kansas, and Jayhawks head coach Bill Self expressed concern about fans interacting with players in such close quarters.
“There were several students that hit our players,” Self said at the time, according to the Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd. “I’m not saying like with a fist, but when you storm the court, you run in, you bump everybody, stuff like that. This has got to stop. I think court-storming is fine, but certainly you can get security to the point where players’ safety is not involved like it is here the last several times.”
Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller has also been outspoken about the dangers of court-storming.
“I have no problem being a great sport,” he said in February 2016 following a loss to the Colorado Buffaloes, per ESPN.com news services. “But eventually what’s going to happen in the Pac-12 is this: An Arizona player is going to punch a fan, and they are going to punch the fan out of self-defense. And only when it happens will everyone take a deep breath and say, ‘We have to do something to protect both teams.'”