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The SEC announced Monday that it has assessed a $250,000 fine to Tennessee after fans threw objects onto the field late in UT’s game against Ole Miss. The outrage from those on hand came after officials ruled Volunteers tight end Jacob Warren short of the line to gain on a crucial fourth-and-24 play late in the game. Ole Miss would go on to win 31-26.
The play was reviewed and the call on the field was upheld, causing an uproar from fans who were already upset about numerous other calls throughout the game. Fans began throwing objects like water bottles onto the field. One fan even managed to hit Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin with a golf ball.
As the barrage of objects was thrown onto the field, the game was delayed for several minutes. The Ole Miss players moved onto the field to avoid being hit with objects on their sideline. Additionally, members of the Tennessee band and cheerleading squad left the field altogether.
Tennessee's cheerleaders leaving the field to avoid getting pelted with objects. pic.twitter.com/kkPoUCo3p3
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 17, 2021
“The final minute of the Ole Miss-Tennessee football game was interrupted and delayed when some fans threw objects onto the playing field, interrupting the competitive opportunity for both teams, endangering contest participants and prompting relocation of the University of Tennessee marching band and members of cheerleading squad,” the SEC said.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey called Saturday night’s events “unacceptable under any circumstances.”
“The disruption of Saturday night’s game is unacceptable and cannot be repeated on any SEC campus,” Sankey said.
In addition to the $250,000 fine, the SEC also set a series of requirements for Tennessee to meet.
The conference said UT must “use all available resources, including security, stadium and television video, to identify individuals who threw objects onto the playing field or at the opposing team.” The individuals who get identified will be banned from attending Tennessee athletic events for the remainder of the 2021-22 academic and athletic year.
The SEC also wants Tennessee to review its “game management procedures and alcohol availability policies” and provide a report to the SEC office “to summarize its efforts to identify and penalize offenders and its plan to enact policies to prevent future similar incidents.”
As of now, the SEC is not suspending alcohol sale privileges at Tennessee.
“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,” Sankey said.
“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.”