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Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey must be tired of feeling like the high school principal no one takes seriously.
The SEC office slapped Tennessee, for example, with a $100,000 fine last season after Vols fans rushed their field and tore down the goalposts following a 52-49 upset of No. 3 Alabama at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
Tennessee president Randy Boyd knew a fine was coming, but his reaction would have made Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) inhale proudly as if Sankey was Mr. Hand.
“It doesn’t matter,” Boyd said in between drags on his victory cigar from his suite. “We’re doing this every year.”
Taking $100,000 from Tennessee’s athletic department is like lifting a pebble from Rocky Top. The Vols, like the other 13 SEC schools, pocketed $50 million from the SEC office last year as part of the annual league office (AKA the U.S. Mint) revenue distribution that is largely funded by obscenely lucrative television contracts with CBS and ESPN.
LSU fans didn’t take that example of discipline very seriously just three weeks later when they rushed the field after the Tigers beat No. 3 Alabama, 32-31, on a drama-filled, risk-reward, two-point conversion in overtime. And LSU’s fine was $250,000 as a repeat offender for a third time since the laughable policy started in 2004.
No one takes the fines seriously and haven’t for years. They’re parking tickets at 1990s prices.
Back in 2014, after LSU fans stormed the field following a 10-7 upset of No. 3 Ole Miss, then-LSU athletic director Joe Alleva knew a fine was coming and didn’t care.
“I hope I have to spend it again two weeks from now,” Alleva said. Then LSU’s own athletic department website published that in a story about the game.
LSU Athletic Director Didn’t Seem To Care
Alleva was referring to LSU’s home game against Alabama, which was two weeks away. The SEC fined LSU $50,000 two days later, and LSU took Alleva’s comment out of the story on its website.
“I encourage everyone to celebrate great LSU victories within the seating areas of the stadium, and not on the field,” a less-emotional Alleva said after receiving the fine.
But that was lip service. LSU fans stormed on after a win over No. 2 Georgia in 2018 and after a win last October 14 over No. 7 Ole Miss – just two weeks before the Alabama win. The SEC fined LSU $100,000 and $250,000, respectively, for those two.
Then No. 5 LSU aided and abetted another field storm on Nov. 26 at Texas A&M by losing to the 4-7 Aggies (1-6 in the SEC) by 38-23. The SEC fined Texas A&M $250,000.
Considering the oil-rich Aggies’ Name, Image & Likeness recruiting and development budget, that’s like stealing a pen from a Texaco station.
Sankey wants the SEC-fine laugh track to stop already. He is tired of school officials merely taking the ticket from the windshield wipers and putting it in the glove compartment with the others.
So, after the November to remember of 2022, Sankey did what executives tend to do. He called a meeting. And then he formed a committee of SEC athletic directors he called a “working group,” as opposed to those that do not. They apparently have been looking into strengthening the penalties after postgame rush parties.
“Current conference policies need to be reviewed and improved with a focus on addressing field and court incursions by spectators after contests,” Sankey said in November.
There have been discussions of making a team forfeit the game it just won if its fans storm the field like maniacs, or make that team have a future home game moved to the road.
“The working group has not presented their recommendations yet,” SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent told OutKick on Monday. Apparently, they’re “working” on it.
But trust me, neither will happen. No games will be forfeited or moved. There is too much money involved there.
But it is time for law and order. And here are five ways to stop the madness:
1. Raise The Fines
Make it $1 million for the first offense, $2 million for the second and so on. But don’t send the money to the SEC office for graduate scholarships as is the system now with fines of $50,000 to $250,000. Send the money to the school that just lost the game. If another bad Auburn team knocks off a No. 1 Alabama, the War Eagles may think twice about storming Bryant-Denny if Bama will be getting the green for more recruiting. That much money coming from the deep athletic department coffers may make the athletic department spend some of its millions on better security at the games to keep fans off the field. The mall cops are not getting the job done at the moment.
2. Pay The Fines From NIL Money
This is my favorite. If these Name, Image & Likeness boosters (AKA jock sniffers) had to pay the million dollar fines for their fans’ behavior, stadiums around the SEC would become fortresses of order postgame. Spending NIL money on fan behavior fines could hurt recruiting. Which leads me to the next one.
3. Take Away Scholarships
Subtract the scholarship limit from 85 to 80 for the first offense, 85 to 75 for number two and 85 to 70 for number three. That will hit the program where it hurts. And the punishment will come down fast, within weeks – not half a decade or so as with the NCAA.
4. Suspend Tailgating
Ban all tailgating at the next home game following a field rush. It will take extra manpower and more roadblocks, but it can be done. Police and other security will likely have better luck blocking cars from parking than stopping mobs from storming.
5. Early Morning Kickoffs
Game forfeitures and losing home dates is a headline-grabbing scare tactic, but those are not going to happen. But this could. If a fan base rushes the field, make the next home game kick off at 9 a.m., then 8 a.m. for the second offense and 7 a.m. for the third. This would really keep the night-loving LSU fans bolted to their seats. Oh, and if LSU fans keep storming, don’t let the Tigers wear white at home. That will stop that storm.
4 CommentsLeave a Reply
Option 1, might, and that’s a might, do something. Option 2-5 have to be some of the most idiotic takes i’ve seen about anything sports related on this site.
What am I missing here? Why would anyone want to stop storming the field? Because it is dangerous to fans and player? Well then, stay in your safe space in the stand with your Covid mask. When was the last time a player was injured by storming the field? Is the answer, never? How about we just say don’t storm the field if you want to remain safe? Glenn sounds like someone who is also worried about cte. Hey Glenn, how many people in the general public who have never had a head injury have cte? I don’t believe there is a study that could provide us with an answer to this but my educated guess is that it is about the same as athletes who have experienced multiple head injuries.
“storming the field” is STOOPID. A lot of crap college kids have done over the years – do now – and will do in the future is STOOPID! You can’t fix STOOPID! ….. I like the $1,000,000 to the losing team but the idiots storming the field won’t care because (1) it ain’t their $$$$ … and (2) because they are STOOPID college kids. ….. NOTHING will ever stop LSU fans from doing really STOOPID crap … it’s in their DNA.
None of the other ideas are practical… IMO. Eventually someone WILL be injured or killed in these stoopid riots … but unless its a black kid or a trany… no one in the media will much care.
Snipers in the press box or on the roof of the stadium might cause a few to think twice … but not enough to make a difference.
6) Remind people that true, championship-calibre teams NEVER storm the field!
Take my beloved Crimson Tide: We fans of the Tide have NEVER stormed a field after a victory. Want to know why? Because The Tide has never beaten anyone they shouldn’t have beaten to be that excited… ALSO, Bryant-Denny Stadium is a quasi-temple and we would NEVER desecrate it — Or maybe we just have an old-fashioned trait known as “class.”
But when your team has never “been there,” then you don’t know how to act like “you been there.”
So when you hear LSU-heads say they love Tiger Stadium, or AgBurn fans tell you how much they cherish that Stable-in-the-Wiregrass, or Tennessee folk regurgitate their reverence for that hole (with tiny seats) in Knoxville, know that it’s all a bunch of crap.
But look on the bright side my SEC brethren, you probably won’t win THE GAME to pay that fine, so don’t worry too much about it!