This from SEC media relations this morning:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Nov. 27, 2012) – The Southeastern Conference announced today that Ole Miss will be fined $5,000 for a violation of the league’s access to competition area policy.The policy states that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy”The violation occurred following Ole Miss’ 41-24 win over Mississippi State on Nov. 24 when fans entered the competition area of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The policy imposes financial penalties for violations in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Institutional penalties range from $5,000 for a first offense to fines of up to $25,000 for a second offense and up to $50,000 for a third and subsequent offenses. If an institution is penalized and subsequently does not have a violation for a period of three years from the date of the last violation, that subsequent violation shall be considered a second offense.
This is Ole Miss’ first violation of the league’s access to competition area policy, which went into effect on December 1, 2004.
Of course, you knew this was coming. Other schools have been fined before, and it’s there in black and white.
The violation should be taken seriously, because all violations should and because the fine gets much stiffer with each offense. It’s just $5,000 for Ole Miss right now, and frankly, you could have raised $5,000 to cover the fine in about five minutes of passing the hat among the bedlam that ensued following the Rebels’ 41-24 win over Mississippi State.
I covered a handful of games in my time when goalposts were torn down. It was fun to see, exciting, but there is indeed a liability issue there. If you’re on the field when the posts are being carried around you have to be smart enough to get out of the way. Back when I was on the Mississippi State beat, Joe Lee Dunn, then the defensive coordinator at MSU, kept a sawed-off piece of the goalpost from the 1996 game against Alabama in his office. An MSU student had given it to Dunn as a gift.
The security concern is as much about players as anything else and what could happen if an angry fan decided to target a player. I understand it’s a different age in which we live, but you miss something when you don’t have the spontaneous on-field celebrations.
It was quite the spontaneous celebration Saturday night. I was standing in the south end zone with my son Kyle, who is also my coordinator of video services. His job was to take the camera and follow the trophy. Students began jumping over the guard rail before the game was over. I didn’t see any of them rush the field at that time, but they were getting ready.
At least one Ole Miss employee scolded two students and urged them back into the stands. The surprising thing about that was that they listened, at least for a few minutes, and got back in the stands.
As I was standing in the end zone, I was hit with some ice, not much, but there was a little raining down from the student section, which I found odd, since that’s usually what you see when the call has gone against you, not when your team is about to celebrate a big win.
While the clock ticked down I was surprised that I didn’t see more security lining up against the back line of the end zone ready to prevent the students from rushing the field.
We may see that prior to the second offense.