Massive fines seem to have kept SEC fans from rushing the field
Keep off the grass. Or the artificial turf — whichever applies.
That’s the rule for fans at SEC stadiums, where rushing the field after a game comes with a fine for the host team.
At some schools — Alabama and Florida, for instance — rushing the field has never happened. Crimson Tide would never lower themselves to act as though a victory wasn’t expected. Same with Florida — at least since Steve Spurrier took over as coach.
But no SEC team rushed the field in 2015 — perhaps because of the steep increase in fines instituted last spring. In 2015, a first-time offense carries a $50,000 fine. A third offense will cost a school $250,000.
Other possible reasons:
- Some of the biggest, most dramatic victories were pulled off by road teams — Ole Miss at Alabama and Arkansas at Ole Miss.
- Missouri fans, who rushed the field after the Tigers clinched the East title in 2013 and 2014, had no reason to leave their seats in 2015.
- Kentucky, another school with a fan base that likes to celebrate on the field, had little to celebrate as well.
- Ole Miss, another favorite spot for field rushing, won its biggest games — Alabama and Mississippi State — on the road. By the time LSU came to Oxford, beating the Tigers was no big deal.
Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive explained the purpose of multiplying the fines 10 times from previous levels.
“This is designed to be a deterrent,” Slive told ESPN. “This is designed to try to change the culture about rushing the field, understanding that it’s viewed by some as a tradition. But it’s a tradition that runs into the question of health and safety of not only the fans themselves but the coaches and players.”
Here’s a list of the last time fans rushed the field at each SEC stadium:
Fans have never rushed the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide fans stick by the “act like you’ve been there before” mantra, apparently.
Date: Nov. 15, 2014
Result: 17-0 win against LSU
Reason: Arkansas snapped a 17-game conference losing streak by bludgeoning the Tigers offense at the point of attack, allowing just 123 total yards.
Date: Nov. 30, 2013
Result: 34-28 win against Alabama
Reason: Even Alabama fans have to respect the Tigers’ right to celebrate this one on the field with their team.
Fans have never rushed the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Swamp is hallowed ground to Gators fans, and apparently they respect that enough not to touch it.
Date: Oct. 7, 2000
Result: 21-10 win against Tennessee
Reason: Georgia ends a nine-game losing streak to the Volunteers.
Date: Oct. 4, 2014
Result: 45-38 win against South Carolina
Reason: Tied with Ole Miss as the most fan base to rush the field, the Wildcats pushed their record to 4-1 (after winning just four games during previous two seasons).
Date: Oct. 25, 2014
Result: 10-7 win against Ole Miss
Reason: The Rebels entered the game unbeaten, but thanks to a late defensive stand and an interception of Bo Wallace deep in Tigers territory, LSU was able to get a huge home victory.
Date: Oct. 23, 2004
Result: 38-31 win against Florida
Reason: Entering the game at 1-5, the Bulldogs pulled off an unlikely upset of the Ron Zook-led Gators.
Date: Nov. 28, 2014
Result: 21-14 win against Arkansas
Reason: The Tigers clinched a second consecutive SEC East title by defeating the white-hot Razorbacks, which hadn’t allowed a point in back-to-back shutouts. With the win, Mizzou improved to 14-2 in regular-season SEC games in two seasons.
Date: Oct. 4, 2014
Result: 23-17 win against Alabama
Reason: Ending a 10-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide, Ole Miss knocked off the No. 3 team in the country to improve to 5-0.
Date: Sept. 29, 2001
Result: 37-36 win against Alabama
Reason: Lou Holtz led the Gamecocks to their first win over Alabama in program history. Police were wielding clubs when a few fans tried to rush the field after a 2010 victory over the Crimson Tide.
Date: Sept. 19, 1998
Result: 20-17 win against Florida
Reason: After failing to get past the Gators in the Peyton Manning era, the Volunteers finally break through in 1998, propelling them to a BCS national championship.
Date: Nov. 20, 2010
Result: 9-6 win against Nebraska
Reason: Knocking off the No. 8 team in the country, the Aggies extended their conference winning streak to five games and reasserted themselves as a force on the national scene.
Date: Nov. 15, 2003
Result: 28-17 win against Kentucky
Reason: A young Jay Cutler helped the Commodores end an embarrassing 23-game SEC losing streak.