In the UK on Monday afternoon, England officials learned that their men would play their next two official matches. in an empty stadium, your fans banned due to violent misconduct, and before you leave because you suspect it is a soccer story, you should warn him that it is actually Tennessee soccer.
What happened Saturday night in Knoxville fell short of the level of calamity that unfolded in July at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium, when hundreds of ticketless fans slammed the gates and wrestled with security details. and police. However, that the Tennessee disaster toward the end of the Volunteers game against Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium spawned less carnage could only be down to poor marksmanship.
Among the hundreds of objects thrown by fans at Neyland Stadium onto the bench areas, the apron that surrounded the playing surface and the field itself was a golf ball, which landed at the feet of Ole Miss’s coach, Lane Kiffin.
MORE: What did UT fans throw at Lane Kiffin?
An event like this in various sports could lead, as England learned, to one or more future games being played “behind closed doors.” It happened with the Mexican men’s soccer team in a World Cup qualifying match against Jamaica as a result of regular instances of homophobic chanting by some of the team’s fans.
Although many college football games were played in empty stadiums in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing a stadium to fans as punishment for misbehavior is not something that happens in college football. That’s, at least in part, because sports departments rely heavily on income from home games in that sport to fund their operations.
However, it is something that should be taken into account if a school like UT had multiple such incidents.
At some point earlier this week, the Southeastern Conference will almost certainly announce a fine against UT athletics for what happened during the Ole Miss game. Given that Kentucky was fined $ 250,000 for one round after the Wildcats’ Oct. 2 victory over Florida, Tennessee could be looking for a large number to punish ugly fan behavior. It could even be close to the equivalent of a “closed door” punishment.
MORE: SEC Issues Statement Hours After Ole Miss-Tennessee Game
Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Where Plowman told the Knoxville News-Sentinel The school is working with the police to identify fans who were throwing objects from the stands towards the end of the game. If fans are found to have been involved in this activity, they could lose the right to attend future games.
It might be an easier task to track down fans who weren’t.
Among the items thrown onto the field in the final minutes of the game: a mustard bottle, pizza boxes, water bottles, beer cans, drink glasses, and that golf ball that would have caused more damage if it had hit Kiffin, a Unpopular figure in Tennessee due to his shortened term as Vols head coach: in the face or skull.
Cheerleaders from both sides rushed out of the stadium to avoid the objects, some of them holding cheering signs above their heads like shields. The gang members were also evacuated and the Ole Miss team members left the bank area and moved to the field so that the objects would have a harder time reaching them. It was a terrible look for college athletics.
It didn’t help that Tennessee’s student section, which was reported to be the biggest source of disruptions, is located so close to the visitor bench. This is something that has been done over the years at various college sporting events and, in the 1990s, it became such a problem that a major college basketball conference ordered its members to move away sections of visiting bench students in basketball.
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Tennessee is studying the installation of cameras to monitor fan behavior. The university is obviously taking this event seriously. There were 18 arrests and 47 expulsions, according to the News-Sentinel, but it was obvious that many more people were involved.
Some of them will undoubtedly get away with participating in what happened on Saturday. That’s why it’s time for the SEC to at least warn Tennessee that a closed-door sanction is not out of the question.
That would be tough not only on the finances of the sports department, but also on those involved in out-of-control behavior and those who are not, which could lead them to be more vigilant in helping to identify those around them and who cross the line. in the future.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.