The SEC on Monday levied penalties against Tennessee for the behavior of its fans during the football team’s loss to Mississippi on Saturday.
Those penalties include a fine, a requirement to find and ban specific fans and a review of the school’s alcohol policy.
The home crowd in Knoxville caused a stoppage of nearly 20 minutes as fans threw water bottles and other objects onto the field in the final minute against Ole Miss.
“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.”
The conference is assessing a $250,000 fine, which will be automatically deducted from the school’s share of SEC revenue distribution.
The school is also required to use all available resources — including security, stadium and television video — to identify anybody who threw objects onto the field. Once identified, those individuals will be banned from attending future Tennessee athletic events, and the university will be required to report on its progress to the conference office.
The SEC also is asking Tennessee to review its stadium alcohol policy and provide an update on its findings.
Per the SEC’s release: “The Conference is not suspending alcohol sales privileges for the University of Tennessee at this time but reserves the right to do so if other requirements outlined above are not met.”
Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman was shocked by the conduct of the school’s fans.
“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game,” she posted to social media after the game. “Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate.”
–Field Level Media