UT, SEC officials make statements after chaotic Tennessee-Ole Miss game
The disruption brought about a 20-minute delay to the game.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The University of Tennessee and SEC officials made statements after Vols fans became disorderly during Saturday’s game against Ole Miss.
A call involving a first down caused the fans to start booing and throwing debris onto the field towards the end of the game.
The debris coming from the student section included bottles, cans, vape pens, and even an entire bottle of mustard. Lane Kiffin, head coach at Ole Miss, managed to barely dodge a golf ball as it landed near him.
The disruption brought about a 20-minute delay to the game. After police started clearing many fans out, officials resumed with less than a minute of play time left.
The Vols, in the end, fell to Ole Miss, 31-26.
Following the game, Head Coach Josh Heupel expressed disappointment in the events that transpired. He also said he knew the few fans who caused the disturbance were not representative of the rest of the crowd.
The Chancellor of UT, Donde Plowman, said she was astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans in a Tweet thread Saturday night.
“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game. Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate. I will be calling Chancellor Boyce in the morning to offer my personal apology on behalf of the University of Tennessee and discuss what we can do to make this right. Neyland Stadium has always been a place for families, and we will keep it that way,” Plowman stated.
Danny White, Director of UT Athletics, apologized to Ole Miss on the behalf of UT.
“Our Tennessee fanbase had much to be proud of through 59 minutes of football Saturday night - they created one of the best live sporting atmospheres I’ve ever experienced - but what transpired in the game’s final minute was unacceptable. Player and fan safety is paramount at all times. While I’m incredibly proud of our team’s effort on the field, I’m disappointed that their relentless performance was overshadowed in the game’s closing moments by the actions of several fans whose actions did not represent the Volunteer Spirit or the true character of our university. On behalf of the University of Tennessee, I’d like to apologize to the Ole Miss football program and congratulate their student-athletes on a hard fought win. I spoke to Keith Carter after the game and expressed that same sentiment to him,” White said.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the actions of the fans during the game were unacceptable.
“The Conference has established expectations for behavior and sportsmanship, and the actions of fans at Saturday night’s game were unacceptable under any circumstances. We are accustomed to intense competition every week, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to endanger the contest participants and disrupt a game. We will review existing Conference policies and the Commissioner’s authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee - and all of the SEC’s member universities - to make certain this situation is not repeated,” Sankey said.
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