SEC football is one of the most recognizable and influential brands in sports. And they are not playing around when it comes to safety. Greg Sankey, the conference’s commissioner since 2015, confirmed on Tuesday that more severe penalties could be handed out for field storming.
It has been a widespread issue facing college sports for years, with programs routinely being fined for such displays of rabid enthusiasm by their fan bases. One of the punishments being considered to curb this ritual would have a direct impact on the team.
“Our group is still working,” Sankey said, per Heather Dinich of ESPN. “Have they talked about things? Yeah. Did they talk about flipping home games? Absolutely. Does that mean it’s going to happen? That’s why the membership gets to vote.”
If the SEC were to take away scheduled home game for a school and force teams to instead go on the road for a matchup, outcomes could be completely reversed. That is one way to teach people a lesson, but it may be a bit too extreme to be approved. Schools are currently fined $50,000 for storming the field, $100,000 for a second offense and $250,000 for subsequent offenses.
It is clear, though, that Sankey and SEC football are determined to squash this problem once and for all. Many field storming incidents have resulted in injuries over the years, producing a multitude of bad optics that a monster entity like the NCAA will always want to avoid. The conference is just spitballing for now, but some sort of action will be taken if they are serious enough.
“We can take the fines away, we can leave fines the way they are,” Sankey said. “We can double fines, we can triple fines. We can quadruple fines. We can set higher standards for visiting teams and officials’ protections. You could set some standards where the team exits. There’s a whole continuum.”
All of college football will be interested to see where the SEC lands on this decision.
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