[Court Non-Rushing] Did Rick Reilly Just Rewrite an Old Pat Forde column?

In the sports pages of the DC area this morning, there is a lot of blowing up from Maryland’s victory over Duke in men’s hoops last night. In the excitement, the infamously rabid Terps fans rushed the court to celebrate the victory. Obviously, the hometowners are pretty happy, but there are still tons of Duke fans in the area, so I wasn’t surprised at all to see bunches of them posting yesterday’s conveniently-timed Rick Reilly column that lays the protocol for students should control their urges to rush the court.

I mean, telling excited college students at an athletic event their team just won to act in moderation is ridiculous in the first place.  But that’s not what this post is about.

Reading through Reilly’s column this morning, I knew I’ve read that piece before. Maybe it’s because my alma mater once got accused of an unnecessary rush after beating a Top-10 Syracuse team ranked three spots below it in 2005, so I have a memory for it. Who wrote the rules from back then? A blogger? One of my friends in an e-mail?

Thank you Google: it was actually on ESPN.com and not some low-trafficked blog or reply all. In fact, it was written by Reilly’s own colleague, Pat Forde. Forde dedicated almost as many words to the “don’t rush” mantra in his weekly Forde Minutes in 2006.

OK, so Forde probably wasn’t the first writer to pen the “not every win is court-rush-worth,” either. But there are a ton of consistent themes in an article that also happens to be on the Web site where Reilly published his column.

Forde, 2006:

After watching all these giddy group gropes, it’s high time to publish the Forde Minutes Court-Storming Protocol Guide. Students are advised to read the following rules and to act accordingly the next time their team agitates them to the edge of hoops ecstasy:

Reilly, 2010:

This has got to stop. Therefore, here are the Ironclad and Unbreakable Rushing-the-Court Rules. From now on, you can NOT rush the court if …

Ok, so, it’s nothing earth shattering to try and become the authority on when college students can act with joy. But the reasons are where we get a ton of overlap. For example, there’s the “program superiority” clause:

Forde, 2006:

The Old Money Principle (2): Look up at the ceiling of your gym and count the banners. If your school has won three or more national titles in its history, you shall not rush the floor at any time. Schools affected: UCLA (11 titles), Kentucky (seven), Indiana (five), North Carolina (four), Duke (three).

Reilly, 2010:

  • You’ve won an NCAA title in the past 20 years.

  • You’ve been in the Final Four in the past five years.

While we’re on the topic of other prohibitions, here’s Forde’s list of storm worthy moments:

…court stormings should be reserved for: upsetting a top five team; knocking off an unbeaten league rival of particular dislike; ending a period of extreme and elongated futility against an arch rival; clinching a conference championship.

For the sake of contrast, here’s the list of no-go’s from Reilly:

  • The team you just beat is not in the top three.

  • Or is ranked within 15 rungs of you. (Somebody do the math for Wake.)

  • Or is really a football school. This includes Florida, Texas and Ohio State. Get over it.

  • You’ve beaten this same team in the past five years.

  • You won the stupid game by more than 10 points. There is no such thing as a PRTC (Premeditated Rush The Court.)

Another staple to this type of column is the “exemption” clause. I.e., forget what I said about not rushing if you have a recent national championship banner:

First, the exemptions:

Forde, 2006

Condition B (5): Your august program defeats a top-five team on a suitably miraculous shot (25 feet or farther) at the buzzer, spurring spontaneous joy that overrides better impulses. (The Indiana-Illinois game went down to the wire, but it wasn’t won at the buzzer on a prayer.)

Reilly, 2010

You can rush the court if: […] Something stupidly wonderful happens, like a 90-foot David Blaine Special goes in or an air ball bounces off the ref’s head to win your conference. Fine.

I just did a scan on Pat Forde’s Twitter, and I saw nothing referencing his old column in response to Reilly’s (but The Worldwide Leader has also come down pretty hard on anyone who mentions other ESPN talent in a vaguely negative light). I’m not calling theft or plagiarism on Reilly, I want that absolutely clear. Just a lack of originality.

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One Comment on “[Court Non-Rushing] Did Rick Reilly Just Rewrite an Old Pat Forde column?”

  1. 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: http://www.tchuddle.com/2011/10/the-importance-of-the-iowa-win/


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