KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Southeastern Conference has issued a $250,000 fine and additional penalties to the University of Tennessee after spectators throwing debris onto the field during Saturday’s matchup against Ole Miss delayed the game for roughly 20 minutes.
In addition to the $250,000 fine, all individuals found to have been involved in disrupting the game will be banned from all Tennessee Athletics events for the remainder of the 2021-2022 academic and athletic year.
Officials will conduct a review of the Athletics Department game management procedures and alcohol availability policies, including an evaluation of agreed-upon SEC policies on sportsmanship and game management. The conference is not suspending alcohol sales at Neyland Stadium but reserves the right to do so if other requirements are not met.
Following the review, Tennessee will provide the conference office with a report summarizing efforts to identify and penalize offenders as well as additional precautions taken to prevent similar incidents.
The $250,000 fine will be deducted from UT’s share of SEC revenue distribution.
Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White issued the following statement on the penalties.
“I was in communication with Commissioner Sankey throughout the weekend, and we discussed a variety of things that took place Saturday night. As I stated after the game, the actions that led to the temporary stoppage of play were unacceptable. The conduct of a small percentage of fans has led to unfortunate consequences on multiple fronts. While I don’t believe that conduct is representative of the Tennessee fanbase as a whole, I understand this imperative action by the league. Safety is paramount. Some elements of what the league office has instructed were already in motion, as a review of in-venue video began this weekend. Internally—and in collaboration with our campus partners—we’ll continue to evaluate accountability measures and develop an action and education plan for future games.”Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White issued
With just 54 seconds left in the contest, the game was delayed roughly 20-minutes as fans threw trash onto the field and caused Tennessee cheerleaders and band members to vacate the field. The game eventually resumed and the Vols had a last-second chance to win the game but fell by five points.