The Vols earned a $100,000 fine from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) after the fans rushed the field on Saturday. According our Knoxville sister station WATE, this is the second time that Tennessee has been fined under the SEC’s “access to competition area” policy.
The policy was implemented in 2004 with financial penalties increased further in 2015.
The policy states:
In all sports, institutions shall limit access to the competition area to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel, and properly-credentialed or authorized individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest may spectators enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy.
Institutional penalties against individuals who improperly enter the competition area must include, but are not-limited to, expulsion from the facility, arrest for trespassing, and the loss of future ticket privileges. In addition to these penalties, violators who are students must be subject to institutional student disciplinary measures.
Each institution shall publicize this policy, as well as the penalties associated with violations, through appropriate means, such as ticket back statements, public address announcements, video/matrix announcements, facility signage, and other means available. In addition, each head coach shall publicly discourage spectators from entering the playing area at any time.2020 Commissioners Regulations
The policy says a $50,000 fine is levied for the first offense, $100,000 for the second, and $250,000 for the third offense and those after.
Very few schools have incurred a full $250,000 fine from the SEC. The most recent fine that large came last year, when Kentucky violated the access to competition area policy after a 20-13 victory over Florida.
A 2021 SEC report stated just four schools in the conference haven’t been fined for fans storming the field. Those schools are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State.
The money from Tennessee’s $100,000 fine will be deposited into the SEC Post-Graduate Scholarship Fund.