KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Southeastern Conference has announced a hefty penalty against the University of Tennessee following Saturday night’s game when UT fans threw debris onto the field in the last minute.
SEC said among other penalties, UT will be assessed with a financial penalty of $250,000, which will be deducted from their share of the SEC revenue distribution.
A University of Tennessee Police Department spokesperson has released the preliminary number of arrests and ejections from Saturday’s Tennessee-Ole Miss game that was marred by fans throwing trash onto the field at Neyland Stadium.
Preliminary records show 18 people were arrested and 47 people were ejected at Tennessee’s 31-26 loss against Ole Miss, a UTPD spokesperson said. University Chancellor Donde Plowman said Sunday that campus police are working to identify those responsible and students would lose the ability to attend future games if found to have thrown debris.
The university will work with law enforcement to put safeguards in place to deter future incidents at the stadium. Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing Tisha Benton said additional cameras focused on the student section could be installed at the stadium.
“I want our fans to be passionate in support of our student-athletes. That cannot mean resorting to bad behavior when things don’t go our way. We should create a safe, fun, and competitive environment in all our sports venues, for both teams, and we need our fans to help us do that.“UT Chancellor Donde Plowman
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.
In the post-game press conference, head coach Josh Heupel started by addressing the display.
“First, I just want to acknowledge for the few fans, what transpired at the end and disappointed on how the game ended as things were being thrown from the crowd, but I know that’s very few of our crowd members. For most of the football games, that was an unbelievable atmosphere to see Vol Nation show out the way they did.”