By Paige Carswell
Staff reporter

Basketball fans will now have to adhere to a new ruling, according to Scott Crawford, KCAC Commissioner.

Effective immediately, fans may not be on the playing surface at basketball games. This means Southwestern students will have to watch games from at least the bottom row of stands, although they may walk on the floor to gain access to the stands.

The decision was made by Crawford yesterday, who ran it by the executive committee for permission.

“I have been considering this for several weeks,” he said. “Me being out in schools and seeing issues with safety concerns is what brought this up.”

To Crawford, there is an invisible line that separates players and referees from people in the stands. That invisible line, he said, helps maintain the safety of the players, referees and fans. “The invisible line has been breached,” he said. “There needs to be a physical separation between those groups. The referees really shouldn’t have to be the ones telling the fans to back up.”

He said the KCAC will not enforce the ruling. It will be up to schools to do so.

“We set a standard that we expect people to follow,” he said. “This is what I would consider a standard of behavior that all 10 schools will implement.”

However, this ruling comes just over a week after the Southeastern Conference fined South Carolina $25,000 for permitting fans on the playing area after the men’s basketball team upset No. 1 Kentucky. Crawford said they will wait to see if punishment will need to be imposed.

“There’s no clear-cut fine or anything, yet,” Crawford said. “My intention is the safety and well-being of everyone out there.”

Paige Carswell is a junior majoring in journalism. You may e-mail her at paige.carswell@sckans.edu.