SEC fines Dan Mullen, suspends 2 Gators for Missouri fight

Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel
·2 min read

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The SEC fined Gators coach Dan Mullen $25,000 on Monday for his part in the Florida-Missouri benches-clearing melee Saturday night in the Swamp.

After reviewing the fight, the league also suspended defensive linemen Zachary Carter and Antwuan Powell for the first half of Saturday’s showdown between the No. 8 Gators (3-1) and No. 5 Georgia (4-1) — a game that well could decide the SEC East winner.

Following the game, Mullen said he was trying to prevent the situation from escalating, but accepts the SEC’s ruling.

“I respect the decision from the conference office,” Mullen said. “As the head coach, it is my responsibility to defuse these types of situations, and I didn’t live up to that standard.”

A questionable hit by Missouri’s Trajan Jeffcoat on Gators quarterback Kyle Trask on the final play of the first half ignited the clash that led to three ejections at halftime of UF’s 41-17 victory. Carter, a second-year starter and key player, was among them.

After players from both teams jawed at each other, Mullen sprinted onto the field and onto Missouri’s side of the field to scream at officials. Players from both teams clashed on the field, with punches thrown by several players.

Mullen had to be restrained more than once. Teams had left the field when he finally headed to the locker room, waving his arms up and down to fire up the crowd as he entered the south end zone tunnel. The 48-year-old then did a curtain call, much to the delight of those at the Swamp.

Fines levied against schools and individuals in the conference are directed into a fund supporting the SEC’s post-graduate scholarship program.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey also will be suspended for first half of Missouri’s Nov. 14 game with Georgia following the Tigers’ bye week.

“There is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic.”

Both schools issued a statement stating the fight did not reflect their values and they support good sportsmanship moving forward.

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