Fans who rushed onto court prompt fine

Updated: January 25, 2006, 4:14 PM ET
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference fined Tennessee $5,000 on Tuesday after fans rushed the court following the Volunteers' 80-76 upset win Saturday over then-No. 2 Florida.

A league rule states that "at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area."

"I understand the exuberance of the moment but the security and protection of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans is our primary concern," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.

The policy, which only affects football and basketball games, went into effect Dec. 1, 2004. It came about two weeks after a brawl involving players and fans at the Indianapolis Pacers-Detroit Pistons game and a brawl among players in the Clemson-South Carolina football game.

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said he wasn't upset with the fans' reaction following the win over the previously unbeaten Gators. The announced crowd of 24,011 was the sixth-largest crowd ever at a men's game in Knoxville.

"I'm not upset with what happened at all," Pearl said earlier this week. "But we have to understand, we have to act like we've been there before. It's not often you beat the No. 2 team in the country ... The bottom line is, we can't have that happen again this year."

Penalties range from $5,000 for a first offense to fines of up to $25,000 for a second offense and up to $50,000 for further violations.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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