Courtside barrier was coming whether we liked it or not

St-Bona court storm

By Vinny Pezzimenti
Bona Blog Writer

It is completely understandable for St. Bonaventure students, alums and fans alike to be angered by the courtside seats coming next season. We don’t like it because it goes against our tradition and the game advantage we have built over the years in the Reilly Center.

We don’t like it because an outsider AD new to the job is perceived to have unilaterally made the decision to place and sell cushy seats in front of the student section.

The reality is something needed to be done to help ensure court safety at the Reilly Center. Tim Kenney, in an online chat yesterday, described court control as a “point of emphasis” in Atlantic 10 meetings and throughout college basketball.

If you’re reading this, you probably witnessed the court storming following the victory over VCU last season. It was sudden. It was explosive. It was dangerous. If you watched the broadcast, you may remember color analyst Ben Howland implying the same, saying “someone could get hurt out there.”

But no one was injured. Opposing players walked back to their locker room discreetly. All was well.

For nearly 50 years members of the student body have stood courtside at the Reilly Center. For nearly 50 years, not a single significant incident or combination of incidents has coerced change.

But change was coming whether Tim Kenney was AD or not.

St. Bonaventure fans will contend the “point of emphasis” on court control is collusion among A-10 members against the little brother of the league to curtail the Reilly Center advantage. That may be the case, but safety is also a real concern. It is everywhere in college basketball.

Wise St. Bonaventure alums that have gone on to success in the real world are smart enough to understand the importance of preventing problems before they happen.

A fellow student or child could have been trampled during the VCU court storm. A frustrated player from the opposing side could cold cock a mouthy, liquored-up student. Placing exuberant students so close to the action opens St. Bonaventure up to any number of potential problems.

So, instead of caging in the students, the new AD and his administration have used the situation to make money. Bravo! The school and the athletic department sure need it.

Q: What’s the difference between a table – like the ones that separate rabid Duke students from the floor – and a chair with someone in it?

A: A few thousand dollars the athletic department can put to good use.

The patrons who purchase seats in front of the student section might not enjoy them breathing down their neck for 40 minutes. But being SBU fans/supporters, we can assume – or at least hope – they know what they’re getting into. We can also hope members of the SBU administration explain to them the pros – and especially the cons – of sitting courtside.

As students, alums and fans, we have a couple choices: 1) continue to sulk and criticize a decision that won’t be overturned, or 2) unite to ensure that the Reilly Center remains the most difficult place for opponents in the A-10, regardless of seating configuration.

You make the call.

Categories: Editorial


  1. Spot on. I couldn’t agree more. A lot of folks need to get over it. The current seating arrangement is an accident waiting to happen.

  2. Pretending for a second the row of seats actually provides safety..,.
    -padded rail
    - digital advertisement board
    - extra personnel making human wall in last seconds of close games
    - same seats they plan on putting in but give it to student groups (honor students, rotc, hockey club etc…)

    These are all ideas that Achieve “safety” a row of seats does and still keeps fan base active.

    The A-10 teams are just cranky they don’t have our fan base. You mean to tell me that a two second delay in rushing the court will prevent any incidents that would could happen with students on on the court?

    As if “A frustrated player from the opposing side could cold cock a mouthy, liquored-up student.” could not happen if there are seats in front of the student section?Get Real. This does nothing for safety but does everything for destroying the RC.

    Do you know what would have happened if Bona had their new seat plan in for VCU game? An old alum would have gotten trampled and injured.

    Few people are saying keep it “status quo” everyone is saying this particular solution is terrible.

    What happens in three years when status quo is half filled cushy seats and a disenfranchised student section because the thrill of being on the court is all but lost?

    Tim Kenney brings up Cameron crazies… Give me a break, if Bona wins a national championship they can put the seating section in Allegheny hills for all I care. We don’t have money or anything duke has to use to that as comparison is ridiculous.

    What we do have/had is an on court student section that is wild and puts fear in opponents. We have something , we have something awesome, something unique, something you can’t buy with any money and you are just willing to just give it away under some completely false guise of safety?! It’s complete garbage and you know it.

    This is not about seating this about preserving the only edge we have in a conference riddle with obstacles built against us. This will destroy the RC and you can’t expect 50 years worth of alumni sit quietly while it happens.

    Vinny enough with trying to improve your own access with these posts.

  3. “Wise St. Bonaventure alums that have gone on to success in the real world are smart enough to understand the importance of preventing problems before they happen.”

    Might be the most shortsighted and ignorant statement in the whole article. How does this bench prevent a court storming?

    What you should say if I may edit this schmooze piece for the athletic department….

    “Wise St. Bonaventure alums that have gone on to success in the real world are smart enough to understand the importance of utilizing and protecting strategic advantages oftheir brand. Like it or not the student court seats are the only advantage the RC brand has, so as smart business men we must protect it”

  4. It’s really too bad that we can’t turn back the clocks to the 1970s when the student body surrounded the court! As a member of the Class of ’79 and a present day season ticketholder, today’s student body is no where near as rowdy as we were back in the 70s and no where as large! Rushing the court is nothing new and won’t be stopped by a row of pricey seats. Rather than worrying about “an accident waiting to happen” (for the last 40+ years), perhaps the University should leave the student section as is and start brainstorming ways to fill the RC as in days gone by.

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