After Sam Hauser hauled in Darryl Reynolds’ failed put back and extended a fist to the sky as the final horn sounded, the Marquette student section bolted onto the court to celebrate MU’s victory over #1 Villanova.
As much fun as it was to see, and as much fun as the genesis for it was, it’s still in violation of official Big East policy. Thus, the league officially fined Marquette $5,000 on Wednesday.
You can have all the debates about when it is and isn’t appropriate to storm the court you want, but the fact of the matter is that it introduces a massively unsafe environment to a basketball court. The chance for something very very very very bad to happen escalates very quickly when several thousand people suddenly force their way through a few small openings and out onto the court.
With that being the case, you can’t fault the Big East for instituting a policy of fining schools every time it happens. As you might expect for a conference that consists of nine schools with a deeply religious background, they’re not just taking the money from the schools. Instead, the money gets donated to charity.
In Marquette’s case, the $5,000 will be going to Camp Hometown Heroes. The Grafton, WI, based operation provides the opportunity for the children of U.S. Armed Forces servicemen and servicewomen who have died in the line of duty to have a summer camp environment with other kids like them who are experiencing the same difficulties after losing a parent in that manner. Deb Paschke, the executive of Camp Hometown Heroes, told Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the money from the fine will provide full funding for five kids to attend camp.
That won’t be the last contribution that MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski makes to the camp this season. No, not because Marquette fans will end up storming the court against another team. Wojo is a participant in ESPN and Infiniti’s Coaches’ Charity Challenge and recently advanced to the second round, guaranteeing another $7,500 for Camp Hometown Heroes. You can vote once per day for Wojo to advance to the third round, which would mean $10,000 for the camp.