When Weston Mills, pre-dentistry sophomore, attends basketball games now, he doesn’t stand directly next to the basketball court to chant and heckle the other team’s players. Mills and the rest of the student section stand on the first bleacher up—a wall of fans there to support the basketball teams.
By Paige Carswell
A ruling on Feb. 3 by Scott Crawford, Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference commissioner, stated that KCAC fans are no longer allowed to stand on the playing surface during basketball games. For Southwestern students, this meant they had to be on the first bleacher or higher.
Crawford said the decision was made for the safety of the referees, players and spectators.
“Referees really shouldn’t have to be the ones telling the fans to back up,” said Crawford. “We’ve already had an instance where a referee and coach collided, and we don’t want to see anyone hurt.”
Spectators are allowed to walk along the floor next to the court to access the stands, but they aren’t allowed to sit on the front row with their feet on the floor or stand on the floor to cheer.
While some students understand that aspect, they don’t agree completely with the ruling.
“I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as some people make it, but I think they could have made a line to stand behind,” said Carrington Crum, elementary education sophomore. “Now you can’t even sit on the front row.”
Brianna Johnson, undeclared freshman, said, “Personally, I think it’s not very good, because you know, you’re cheering. You’re helping them along. When you stand on the court, you feel like you’re in the game. You’re there. And when you can’t do that, it hinders your ability to have fun and cheer for your team.”
“I guess I kinda do and kinda don’t agree with the rule,” said Mills. “It makes sense, but at the same time it’s not as fun for the student section.”
DeVon Davis, business sophomore, said, “I understand why they picked it. There’s nowhere else where people are allowed to stand there. Like if you go Division I, they aren’t that close to the court, so I agree with it.”
For Stuart Ballard, junior forward, there’s not a big difference in how the crowd was before and how it is now.
“It doesn’t make a big difference to me. I don’t recognize it anyway when I’m playing on the court.”
The rule is being enforced by the schools in the KCAC, and there is no clear-cut fine determined if the schools’ students do not adhere to the ruling.
“I think people will understand. We set a standard that we expect people to follow,” said Crawford. “This is what I would consider a standard of behavior that all 10 schools will implement.”