College Basketball

SEC’s Greg Sankey weighs in on steeper penalties for field, court stormings: ‘People have to stop it’

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Game forfeitures and bowl bans are indeed among the options under discussion by the SEC to deter fans from storming fields and courts after big victories, commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed to Sports Illustrated.Β 

“You have to elevate the responsibility for the safety of the visiting team,” Sankey said. “We talk about the dangers for fans. The dangers of people jumping over walls. Dangers for both teams. Dangers for the officials. That’s the kind of conversation the adults in the room have had. The adults will continue to have the conversation.”

Increased fines and the loss of a future home game are also among the ideas in play, Sports Illustrated previously reported; however, five- and six-figure fines by the conference to deter field and court stormings have proven inadequate in recent years, thus leading to steeper considerations.Β 

Twice in October of 2022, fans stormed the field after SEC football games, despite the fact that their schools would incur six-figure fines for the celebration. Schools are currently docked $50,000 for the first offense, $100,000 for a second offense and $250,000 for every other instance after that. That policy went into effect prior to the 2015-16 school year.

“I don’t think just passing a rule can stop it. People have to stop it,” Sankey said. “Has the fine system changed behavior? Yes. Can you stop it? Sure. You can send teams into stands to celebrate with fans. We see that in basketball pretty frequently. You can educate your fans: Stay off the floor, we’re going to come to you and let’s celebrate that way.

“There are positive ways to engage in postgame celebration that don’t involve rushing the field and tearing down goalposts.”

No official changes have been proposed, however. The SEC’s annual spring meetings are set for late May and early June in Destin, Florida, and could be the setting in which the league votes on a new penalty structure. A three-person group of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne, Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks and Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart are tasked with developing proposals on the issue.

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Publish Date:2023-04-27 00:15:40

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