The SEC could take drastic new measures to deter schools from letting fans storm the field after a big win. Rather than a fine, which is the current punishment for such acts, the league is upping the ante.
According to a new report, the conference’s new potential solution would have a much larger impact. The college football world has been quick to react.
In what’s become a tradition of sorts, we often see fans rush to midfield after big wins. This postgame celebration is particularly synonymous with the major upsets as crowd members flood the field to enjoy the moment with players and coaches.
We saw it just last season in one of football’s most entertaining games as Tennessee knocked off No. 1 Alabama, 52-49. That win in Neyland Stadium was the Vols’ first in the series in 16 seasons.
After the game, fans not only left their seats, but they ripped out the goalposts and transported them to the Tennessee River.
The scenes in Knoxville were awesome with Vol Nation lighting celebratory cigars with the team on the field. Even head coach Josh Heupel lit up a stogie alongside 100,000 Tennessee supporters.
But while the atmosphere was electric, it also caused a safety issue for both players and fans.
During the chaotic moment, Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton was seen shoving a female Tennesse fan to the ground.
Crimson Tide head coach defended his wideout, saying that Burton was scared on his way back to the locker room.
In order to prevent these types of situations in the future, the SEC could take drastic measures.
Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated wrote about the potential of the league taking away future home games for violators.
Picture this potential scenario in the Southeastern Conference this fall: On Sept. 30 in Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn takes down undefeated, No. 1–ranked, two-time reigning national champion Georgia. Tigers fans celebrate their first victory over the rival Bulldogs since 2017 by storming the field.
And in response, the SEC moves Auburn’s next home game against Georgia, in 2025, to Athens. The Tigers would play the Bulldogs between the hedges three straight seasons, 2024 to ’26. That would be the price for storming the field… It’s on the table as a possible sanction as the SEC searches for a stronger deterrent to field storming than six-figure fines.
Forde goes on to talk about the safety concerns mentioned before, while also noting that the current six-figure fines have done little to deter these incidents.
He says that Alabama has been a particularly popular target having had the field rushed in their last seven road losses.
There’s also a possibility of teams having to forfeit games if fans rush the field, which could be even more costly. These rules would also carry over to basketball.
While safety is the main issue behind the potential punishment, fans aren’t happy about the possibility of having these moments removed from college sports.
Storming the field is a part of college sports. Fun suckers. Another day, another effort to take the passion out of college sports… SMH.
— NEAUX GEAUX (@kylodog90) April 24, 2023
It’s a “solution” to a “problem” that absolutely nobody wants to see. Hate to hear about this.
— BenHOGan (@DavidGDaniel) April 24, 2023
Some believe the punishment to be a bit excessive.
It’s a bit extreme to be taking away a home game.
— Eric Hovland (@EricJHovland) April 24, 2023
Maybe there’s a solution that doesn’t completely remove the tradition from sports.
Gotta be some kinda balance they can find right? Storming the field is a blast, but safety is also paramount. To completely remove it seems a bit reactive.
— Pokatok Sports Festival (@Pokatok_Fest) April 24, 2023
It will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition. It would undoubtedly have an impact on these postgame celebrations.