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After last season’s dramatic field-storming incidents, the SEC is considering a major change to its rule book for personnel safety. It all started after the Tennessee win over Alabama, when Greg Sankey decided to look into future changes.
According to Pat Forde, one way the SEC is trying to prevent fans from storming the field is the threat of losing a future home game. Commissioner Greg Sankey formed a committee to put together ideas in hopes of preventing further incidents.
“The working group has not yet made its recommendations,” according to an SEC spokesperson.
The incident that sparked this conversation came in Knoxville, following Tennessee’s victory over Alabama. Alabama’s Jermaine Burton was seen on camera placing his hands on a female fan following the field storm. Now, whether or not Burton felt his safety was in danger is up for debate. Burton was not punished for the incident. Either way, the league is ready to do something about it.
Right now, the SEC fines a school $50,000 for its first incident, while it goes up to $250,000 after the third time. Multiple schools received fines in 2022, including LSU, who defeated Alabama at home, leading to a massive field storming.
Also, Texas A&M fans stormed the field after beating LSU in the final regular season game of 2022.
Along with forfeiting a future home game, another option that is on the table is forfeiting the game in which the storming occurs. Now this option will certainly not see the light of day, but it goes to show you how far Greg Sankey is willing to go in preventing further incidents.
The fact is, fining these schools does nothing to prevent these situations, as they can easily write a check to the league office.
SEC Scheduled To Meet For Spring Meetings In May
The SEC is scheduled to meet in Destin at the end of May, where AD’s and Presidents will vote on a number of topics. Over the next few weeks, the working group that consists of Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart, Georgia’s Josh Brooks and Alabama’s Greg Byrne will continue discussions.
According to Forde, this committee will then present their ideas to the other 11 athletic directors before they meet for Spring meetings. It’s highly unlikely the forfeiture of games will make it past a talking point.
It’s simple, the SEC doesn’t feel as if the fines are scaring schools into preventing field storms by fans. If the working group can come up with an idea that suits all ADs, then maybe a change will be made before the 2023 season.
Until then, the group will continue looking for ways to prevent further on-field incidents involving fans and football programs.