When running back Benny Snell and the Kentucky Wildcats knocked off the 14th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, the program was jettisoned to No. 17 in the Associated Press Poll, its first appearance since 2007. It was the school’s second Top 25 win of the 2018 season and fourth win in four tries.
When you put together a massive win at home against an SEC opponent, pandemonium typically follows. That’s exactly what happened when Kentucky faithful poured over the fences and onto the turf of Kroger Field, and the Southeastern Conference has fined the program $100,000 for it.
According to SEC rules and policies, a program must do everything it can keep students and fans off the field after games to ensure security and safety of the athletes, coaches, support personnel and media members on the field of play after games.
“The Conference has unanimously approved a policy requiring fines be applied when spectators enter the playing field after a game. Fans are expected to remain in the stands and avoid the safety concerns associated with rushing on to the playing field. We want exciting experiences around SEC games, but also seek to maintain a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, spectators and officials.” — SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey
This is the second offense by Kentucky under the SEC’s rules. The first offense came in 2014 following Kentucky’s 45-38 win over South Carolina. If the university cannot hold back fans again, the third fine will be a whopping $250,000.
All the fines are deposited into the SEC Post-Graduate Scholarship Fund.
Rushing the field after huge wins is one of the most awesome spectacles to see in sports. Fans who brave the elements to watch their teams compete at the highest level will do whatever they can to get close to where the massive upset and huge win just took place.
Those moments of sheer joy are what make college sports so unique. From basketball to football, rushing the field for those brief moments stick with fans for the rest of their lives.
It’s a shame that Wildcats program will be in debt to the conference for something they only a small chance to hold back, when thousands of people pour over the fences, but it’s a moment that was well-worth the price tag.
No. 17 Kentucky (4-0) hosts the South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1) on Saturday. Expect Wildcat fans in Lexington to be kept in the stands this time around, though.