The Auburn Tigers were rightfully excited about beating longtime college football rivals the Alabama Crimson Tide 48-45 over the weekend. In fact, so excited their fans rushed the field in celebration. For that action, the SEC has fined the victors $250,000.
The SEC policy, which was adopted in 2014, states that “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.”
Institutional penalties range from $50,000 for a first offense to penalties of up to $100,000 for a second offense and a maximum of $250,000 for a third and consecutive offenses. The funds collected from the fine will be transferred to the SEC Post-Graduate Scholarship Fund.
This Is Auburn’s Fourth Time Violating the SEC’s Guidelines
That fine might sound a little egregious for the SEC’s standards, but this is not the first time Auburn has been penalized for committing such an offense. For fans attending football games, they’ve been disciplined now three times.
The first time took place following the Kick Six victory over Alabama in 2013. The second was 2017’s SEC West-clinching win against Bama and the third being on Saturday. In 2016, fans stormed the basketball court when the team handed the Kentucky Wildcats an upset loss.
Alabama’s Playoff Chances Dwindling
All good things must come to an end. For Alabama, Saturday’s loss likely confirmed that Nick Saban’s men will absent from the College Football Playoffs this season, seeing as no two-loss team has made the Playoffs in years past. Furthermore, the defeat means the stakes are just as high heading into conference championship weekend.
Utah, who clinched the Pac-12 South, could win their first conference championship title in school history with a win against Pac-12 North opponents the Oregon Ducks. The Big 12 championship game, which features former Alabama-turned-Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, will be a showdown between the Sooners and the Baylor Bears.
Even if the SEC gets another team in the playoffs, Alabama won’t be one of the lucky two. The SEC Championship game on Saturday will feature the undefeated LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs, whose sole defeat came on October 12 against South Carolina.
The Tide will undoubtedly still play on New Years Day, but this will mark the first time in the Playoff era that a squad led by Nick Saban will not be competing for a national championship. In his remarks following the game, Saban couldn’t hide his displeasure about his side’s fate.
“Very, very disappointing,” the six-time national champion said. “I know our fans are disappointed, but I can promise you that our players are disappointed, and we’re all very, very disappointed. It’s my responsibility to get our team to do these things better, and that certainly will be the goal in the future.”
The SEC Championship game between the LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs will be held on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.