Ole Miss fined for postgame scene at VHS

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.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Archaeo

    I told my wife when I saw people climbing down before the game ended that there was a fine coming. In this case I think $5000 is money well spent for the celebration that went on. As a recruit (several of which were at the game) that is something that I would want to see after the last couple of seasons. Now as long as it doesn’t happen again…….

    • mstatedog08

      From a recruits standpoint you definitely want to see improvement.. I concede to that point.. But do you really think that a recruit will be swayed b/c the fans rushed the field? I don’t think a banner will be hung at VHS from this win, and in my humble opinion if a banner’s not going up, the fans need to stay in the stands where they belong.

      • Archaeo

        It was more the passion and celebration over a win over an in-state rival I liked more. That is something that has been missing for a LONG time. That being said, once in a blue moon rushing of the field I think is fine as long as it doesn’t become a habit.

  • donttouchatwire

    i saw a lot of drink tossing during the game. But it was more like the baseball games after a homerun. Thrown into the air in celebration not disgust

  • mstatedog08

    I agree for the most part with this article, but the thing I found so ironic was how OM admins were so hell-bent on “adhering to the rules” w/ the cowbells, yet as you say allowed their own fans to break the rules in the process w/ minimal attempt to stop it. State (we) got our butts kicked in the 2nd half of that game, and there’s no sour grapes here. Ya can’t win ‘em all. The problem that I have with rushing the field in this game is 1) it wasn’t warranted and 2) according to REPORTS (not my eye-witness so it MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED) several State players were indeed targeted during the “celebration.”

  • chris

    rushing the field only made us look like fools…if a win over a mediocre MSU team warrants a field rushing we are in sad, sad shape

  • Parrish Alford

    Personally, I’m OK with students and fans on the field if you can guarantee the safety of coaches and players on both sides. I think the on-field celebration adds to atmosphere. Warranted is really in the eye of the beholder. It would not be a good statement for the Ole Miss program if fans felt the need to rush the field after every win against MSU, but this one was different for several reasons: MSU’s recent success in the series, the absolute horror of the Ole Miss program at the end of last year and the fact that the win also got the Rebels to a bowl game which far exceeded the expectations many had for this team.

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