SEC Fines Tennessee $250,000 for Fans Throwing Trash, Delaying Game

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Trash being thrown onto the field at the Ole Miss-Tennessee game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

The Southeastern Conference has fined the University of Tennessee $250,000 after fans threw so much trash onto the field that the game had to be delayed for about 20 minutes in the fourth quarter.

The game on October 16 had Ole Miss visiting Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, marking the return of former UT coach Lane Kiffin, who now coaches Ole Miss.

UT fans were upset about the spot of the ball as Tennessee attempted to convert a fourth-and-24 into a first down. The ball was spotted just short of the first down, prompting fans to throw water bottles, beer cans, a mustard bottle and pizza boxes. Kiffin was hit with a golf ball.

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Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin being hit with golf ball thrown from the stands at the Ole Miss-Tennessee game in Knoxville, TN on October 16, 2021

UT’s own cheerleaders and dance team were hit with debris and taken off the sidelines. The UT band was removed from the stands.

The SEC made it clear shortly after the game that action would be taken.

“The disruption of Saturday night’s game is unacceptable and cannot be repeated on any SEC campus,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Today’s actions are consistent with the oversight assigned by the membership to the SEC office, including the financial penalty and review of alcohol availability. We will use this opportunity to reemphasize to each SEC member the importance of providing a safe environment even with the intensity of competition that occurs every week. We will also reengage our membership in further review of the alcohol availability policy to consider additional measures for the sale and management of alcohol while providing the appropriate environment for collegiate competition.”

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Ole Miss team being moved onto the field and away from the sidelines to avoid being hit with trash being thrown at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN on October 16, 2021

Here is an outline of the punishment that Tennessee faces:

  • Be assessed a financial penalty of $250,000, which will be deducted from the University’s share of SEC revenue distribution.
  • Be required to use all available resources, including security, stadium and television video, to identify individuals who threw objects on to the playing field or at the opposing team. All individuals identified as having been involved in disrupting the game shall be prohibited from attending Tennessee Athletics events for the remainder of the 2021-22 academic and athletic year.
  • Review and update its Athletics Department game management procedures and alcohol availability policies to prevent a recurrence of Saturday night’s disruption, which shall include an evaluation of agreed upon SEC Sportsmanship, Game Management and Alcohol policies to verify full compliance with existing standards.
  • Following completion of this review and prior to the University of Tennessee’s next home football game, the University shall provide a report to the Conference Office to summarize its efforts to identify and penalize offenders and its plan to enact policies to prevent future similar incidents while ensuring compliance with Conference standards.
  • The actions taken by the Conference are consistent with SEC Commissioner’s Regulations related to the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletics events which states, “If cans or plastic bottles are used as projectiles or otherwise cause game management issues, the institution is subject to an immediate fine and suspension of the alcohol sales privilege.”

The SEC says it’s not suspending alcohol sales privileges for the University of Tennessee but reserves the right to do so if other requirements outlined above are not met.

UT’s next game is against No. 4 Alabama on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Its next home game is against Georgia on November 13.

 

Categories: National Sports