KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Southeastern Conference is fining the University of Tennessee $250,000 after fans showered Neyland Stadium with debris Saturday night when the Vols hosted Ole Miss.
The money will be withheld from the Vols annual SEC distribution. The SEC is also calling on the university to use every resource to identify those fans that participated and ban them from attending events for the rest of the academic year.
The conference is asking Tennessee to review its alcohol sales and game management policies and supply the league office with a plan for the changes they plan to implement.
Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White issued the following statement.
“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.”
Fans showered the playing field with bottles with only 54 seconds to play after a Tennessee player was ruled a yard shy of a first down. Fans ignored pleas from the PA announcer to stop and it ultimately it took close to 20 minutes to resume play.
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.