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University of Tennessee facing $250K fine after fans threw objects onto field during Saturday's game

Mississippi Tennessee Football
Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 18, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The University of Tennessee will be fined $250,000 following Saturday's game against Ole Miss after fans threw debris onto the field, causing a 20-minute delay in the game.

The announcement was made on Monday by the Southeastern Conference.

Late in the game, Ole Miss stopped Tennessee a yard shy of a first down on a fourth-and-24 pass with just over a minute left. After that play, and the review that confirmed the spot of the ball, some Tennessee fans pelted the field with objects.

Tennessee’s cheerleaders, dance team and band were ordered out of the stadium and police cleared the student section.

Play resumed after about 20 minutes. Matt Corral threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 195 yards for Mississippi.

On Monday, Tennessee Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, Danny White issued the following statement in response to the behavior.

"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."

The SEC said based on the league's sportsmanship, game management and alcohol availability policy, the following actions will take place for the University of Tennessee:

  • Be assessed a financial penalty of $250,000, which will be deducted from the University's share of SEC revenue distribution.
  • Be required to use all available resources, including security, stadium and television video, to identify individuals who threw objects on to the playing field or at the opposing team. All individuals identified as having been involved in disrupting the game shall be prohibited from attending Tennessee Athletics events for the remainder of the 2021-22 academic and athletic year.
  • Review and update its Athletics Department game management procedures and alcohol availability policies to prevent a recurrence of Saturday night's disruption, which shall include an evaluation of agreed upon SEC Sportsmanship, Game Management and Alcohol policies to verify full compliance with existing standards.
  • Following completion of this review and prior to the University of Tennessee's next home football game, the University shall provide a report to the Conference Office to summarize its efforts to identify and penalize offenders and its plan to enact policies to prevent future similar incidents while ensuring compliance with Conference standards.

The conference said alcohol sales privileges for the university will not be suspended at this time.