Sports Outside the Beltway

NCAA fines South Carolina for post game celebration

A Gamecock player urged students onto the court after South Carolina’s upset victory on Tuesday. From AP-

South Carolina’s first victory over a No. 1 team will cost $25,000.

The Southeastern Conference fined South Carolina that amount Wednesday for violating league rules against permitting fans on the playing area following a 68-62 victory over top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.

As the game neared the end, security at the Colonial Life Arena held up a yellow rope to keep the people off the court. However, South Carolina guard Devan Downey urged students to join the players in celebration as time ran out. The Gamecocks had been 0-7 in the program’s history against No. 1 teams before the Wildcat win.

The scene was so crazy, Kentucky coach John Calipari headed straight for the locker room instead of walking to South Carolina’s bench for the traditional postgame handshake.

This was considered South Carolina’s second such violation, the first coming five years ago after another win over Kentucky.

The NCAA justifies the fine by saying it was done for safety purposes. As a person who remembers the wild celebrations that took place after the playoffs and World Series victories of the NY Mets in 1969, I really think this is another instance of the nanny state run wild. South Carolina’s upset was something to celebrate.

The policy went into effect on Dec. 1, 2004, less than two weeks after a brawl involving players and fans during a game between the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and one day after another fight among players in a Clemson-South Carolina football game.

What happened in 2004 was outrageous but a mostly isolated instance. Angry athletes charging into the stands just doesn’t happen all that often. I can think of an incident at a NY Ranger hockey game. Anyone know other such disturbances in North American sports?

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