Originally written November 27, 2012 on Crystal Ball Run:
Man, rushing the field after beating your arch rivals and becoming bowl eligible just isn't fun anymore. At least if you are in the SEC that is. Ole Miss found that out the hard way as they were fined $5,000 dollars for violating the SEC's sportsmanship policy. Yes, apparently fans aren't allowed to rush the field in the almighty SEC anymore.  According to a press release the school was nailed with the fine because they violated the league's "access to competition area policy." (That's an actual thing in the SEC, btw) The policy reads like this: “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy” So, the fans rushing the field after winning the egg bowl by crushing their 109 year old rivals cost the athletic department their stellar reputation in SEC circles in this area, as they've never been fined before. Oh wait, that's because they haven't celebrated anything of note since this policy was implemented in 2004? Ah, I see it so much clearer now. According to the release from the SEC offices fines could go as high as $25,000 for the next offense and up to $50,000 for a third offense or higher.  Here I thought the NFL was the No Fun League? Turns out the SEC forgot all about this thing called school spirit and fanaticism that seems to be all the rage in their conference these days.  Storming the field after beating your arch rivals is a time honored tradition and something I've been lucky enough to have been a participant in (ref: Iowa State 15-14 win over Iowa in 2007) myself. It's a memory that won't fade and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It's a shame the SEC won't be allowing fans today those same memory making moments. Anyone else find it completely ironic that a conference that couldn't care less about standards and ethics in it's football programs is willing to fine schools athletic departments because they couldn't control a massive mob of people from rushing their field in excitement?  Perhaps I'm a bit old school, but traditions like that are part of the reason college football is so great. Yes, I get there can be player safety issues, but honestly who didn't or doesn't see something like that coming and prepare for an exit strategy to begin with? Give me a break and lighten up SEC!  Let the kids be kids for a bit and let them enjoy their college experiences. It could be worse.... They could celebrate by lighting their couches on fire or burning their campus' party areas to the ground, no?  For more on college football and his musings on college sports in general make sure to follow Andy on Twitter @andycoppens as well as follow the journey of The Crystal Ball Run at @CrystalBallRun and 'Like' us on Facebook.
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