ACC to discuss court storming

Updated: March 1, 2013, 2:30 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

The ACC is expected to discuss the safety of court storming and whether an SEC-like penalty structure is warranted when the conference holds its spring meetings in May, at least one athletic director told ESPN.com on Friday.

The AD, who preferred not to be named while the process was ongoing, was reacting to Thursday night's court storming at Virginia when the Cavaliers beat Duke.

The SEC has a fine system of $5,000 for a first offense, $25,000 for a second, $50,000 for a third.

When the SEC adopted the penalty system in 2004 and the issue came up for debate within the ACC, there was no support for levying such a penalty. No other conference has a penalty like the SEC.

"If they don't bring it up, I promise you I will resurrect the discussion,'' the AD said.

A Duke official said later Friday that security stopped Duke players and staff at the Virginia bench while fans rushed the court as opposed to stopping the fans and allowing the Duke players and staff to get off the court. The Duke official said they had more than enough ushers to get the Duke players and staff off the court.

[+] EnlargeVirginia Tech's
AP Photo/Don PetersenThe ACC plans to discuss the safety of court-storming at its spring meetings, one athletic director told ESPN.com.

Duke has been stormed on at Miami, NC State, Maryland and Virginia. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed concern for his players' safety after the latest incident.

"Look, do you know how close you are to -- just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches," Krzyzewski said, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. "I'm not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, 'Coach, you're a [expletive],' or push you or hit you. And what do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story. We deserve that type of protection.

"I'm always concerned about stuff like that, especially at this time of the year. What if that happened and we get a kid suspended? That becomes the national story. It's not all fun and games when people are rushing the court, especially for the team that lost. Again, congratulations to them, and they should have fun and burn benches and do all that stuff. I'm all for that. They have a great school, great kids, but get us off the court. That's the bottom line."

Virginia officials said Friday that the school's associate athletic director met with Duke at the shootaround Thursday.

"I respect Coach K so much, he's done so much for the game. I can't imagine ... how every game, the intensity in that arena and everybody going after them. He's raised that bar," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. "I know we've got good people in charge. I don't exactly know what happened. I certainly respect Coach K and hopefully everything will work out. ... I'm sure there's validity, you've gotta obviously protect the players. It's a hard situation. ... But I really respect what our people do and the protection they provide. And again, not knowing how it all went down and all that, I probably can't answer it accurately. I'm just thankful we got a win because it was an important win for us."

According to Virginia, the school told Duke that it would have a police officer greet the team bus and be with him throughout the game. The school said that Duke was informed of the protocol for court rushing, saying there would be a safe zone created in front of the scorer's table/bench to help escort the team off the court.

Virginia officials say that it was one minute from when the last Duke player went through the handshake line until he got to the back hallway. Virginia said at least 20 ushers were protecting Duke during the safe zone.

Before Duke's game at Miami on Jan. 23, coach Jim Larranaga said Hurricanes officials told him of the procedure and that if there was a court storming he wouldn't shake Krzyzewski's hand so Duke could get off the court.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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