The Arizona men's basketball team lost on the road to Colorado last night, an upset of fairly large import given that the Wildcats are (or were) a top 10 team and Colorado's considered a bubble team. The story, however, isn't that the Buffs won. It's the court-storming that followed it and renewed concerns over risks to player and fan safety.
We can disagree over how much of a powder keg this really is. Arizona coach Sean Miller, for instance, fears we're eventually going to have an incident where fans rush the court and a player punches one of them in self-defense. Things may not be that dire, but I understand his concern. Hundreds of fans suddenly crammed into a field or court has the potential for a lot of bad outcomes, accidental or otherwise. At the same time, we shouldn't suck all the passion out of college sports.
So, like the good samaritan I am, I've come up with this foolproof solution that makes everyone happy.
1. At halftime, announce that a business meeting is being held in the arena or stadium. This is not a meeting open to ticketholders; in fact, it doesn't even have to relate to sports at all. Throw a message on the Jumbotron that says the National Notary Association's having a regional leadership conference, and have the PA person announce the same. It's not a thing fans will really care about at the time, but we're laying an important foundation here.
2. If the game is close with two minutes left, announce that the meeting is ending shortly and there's leftover catering. You're going to need a camera stationed in the meeting room with some beauty shots of said leftovers. Show the sandwich ring that has three pieces left. Focus on the cookie plate that's mostly untouched. Are those individual bags of Zapp's just sitting there, available to anybody who wants them? Indeed they are, sports fan.
3. The second - and I mean the SECOND - the game ends, allow the fans to get at all that food. Watch them flock like crazed rats to this conference room. It won't matter how rich they are, or if they've eaten already. Free post-meeting food works on that lizard segment of your brain that craves getting at scarce resources while you can. The losing team has time to leave the floor in peace, the winning team can celebrate without risking being crushed, and the fans are wolfing down cut fruit and stuffing their jackets with free cans of Sprite Zero.