Fans rushing the field after a win is awesome. There’s no denying it. One after another, thousands of still-probably-intoxicated college students pour out onto the field jumping, dancing and probably recording it all on their Snapchat story. It’s one of college football’s great traditions.
LSU fans swarmed Death Valley following a win over Georgia this season. Iowa State rushed the field after taking down West Virginia. Purdue fans did it this past Saturday night after taking down Ohio State. Clemson fans literally rush the field after every home win. Naturally, Gator fans have probably wondered: Should we rush the field? Have we ever rushed the field? What would it take for us to do so?
In short, no. Florida’s former athletic director, Jeremy Foley, created a culture that simply didn’t allow it. Winning is thought of as less of a surprise and more as taking care of business. And that likely won’t change anytime soon. The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi wrote a piece in 2015 that quoted Foley on the idea of rushing the field or storming the court. Foley had this to say:
“Do we have to get somebody paralyzed or killed before we start taking this seriously? At some point, we’re going to have a serious, serious, accident, and that’s when everybody is going to jump up and want to weigh in on this topic. We’ll form committees and have meetings and seminars and try to figure out how such a tragedy could have happened.”
In 2015, the Southeastern Conference significantly raised the fine amounts for schools rushing the field or storming the court. Fines can be as much as $250,000. That obviously still hasn’t stopped some conference schools, though.
Beyond the fact that rushing the field can reel in hefty fines, it’s more dangerous — for fans, players and team personnel — than people realize. Consider that goal posts are sometimes torn out of the ground and can weigh hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Not only has this resulted in death before, but it’s resulted in numerous serious injuries.
That fact alone makes you wonder why every other program hasn’t already followed in Florida and the SEC’s footsteps. Is the tradition really worth it?
That’s part of why you’ll never see fans rush the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. If the orange and blue faithful didn’t pour out onto the field to celebrate with Tim Tebow during the 2000s, it won’t happen under head coach Dan Mullen now.
Gator fans may have been tempted in recent years, too. Will Grier’s game-winning touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway against Tennessee in 2015 sent fans into a frenzy that didn’t result in chaos on the field. Feleipe Franks heaving a hail mary to Tyrie Cleveland to beat Tennessee in 2017 didn’t do it either. So I highly doubt even beating Alabama would warrant a field-rushing affair.
And that’s exactly how UF fans should keep it. Because, in the same way Alabama fans have never rushed the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, winning is expected and not celebrated like it comes around as often as Halley’s Comet.