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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
When the final buzzer sounded in Marquette's 74-72 win over top-ranked Villanova on Tuesday night, there was no question that the students were going to rush the court. There also was no doubt that once they did the Big East would levy a fine against Marquette.
The conference did just that on Wednesday afternoon pursuant to its rule against spectators entering the playing area before, during or after games. The rule is in place to help create a safe environment for players, coaches and officials.
"The excitement level it was just phenomenal to see," said Marquette athletic director Bill Scholl, who struggled to recall being part of a more exciting atmosphere during his 30-year career in college athletics. "I've been to Marquette games as a Marquette employee and as an employee at other places and the atmosphere I think is always good, but last night was just tremendous.
"The storming the court I'm not a huge fan of it and I think safety's got to be No. 1, but it sure created some exciting visuals as you sat there and watched it, that's for sure."
Gameday Security: Controlling Court Storming At Athletic Events
As was the case when Butler was sanctioned for its court storming following its win over Villanova, Marquette was fined $5,000. Money for such fines is sent to the charity of the school's choice and Marquette picked Camp Hometown Heroes, a Grafton-based summer camp that benefits the children and siblings of fallen military members regardless of whether they were killed in action or died in any other manner.
Deb Paschke, the executive director at Camp Hometown Heroes, paced around her kitchen, barely able to stand listening to the final, tense moments of Marquette's win Tuesday night. After it ended, she sent congratulatory texts to Golden Eagles head coach Steve Wojciechowski and his wife, Lindsay. Paschke didn't know about the Big East-imposed donation that was coming the camp's way.
"This sends five Wisconsin kids to camp," Paschke said when asked about the impact of $5,000. "This pays for everything for them to come to camp."
Wojciechowski has partnered with Camp Hometown Heroes each of the past two years as part of the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge. In that challenge, which is ongoing, college head coaches compete against one another for votes, which translate to more money for their charity of choice the farther they go in the process. Wojciechowski recently advanced to the second round of voting in this year's competition.
"Steve has been so generous to us over the last couple years," Paschke said.
Scholl praised the Big East court-storming policy for its aim to foster a safe environment.
With no negative issues reported, Scholl views Tuesday night as a win for everyone involved.
"I'm in total agreement with the policy," Scholl said. "We have to be careful - safety is always first and foremost. I also agree that if it does occur like last night that we can direct the fine to a charity that we are particularly close to and our head coach is particularly close to.
"I think that's a very nice wrinkle within the policy that does make it a little easier to handle."
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