SEC fines UT $5,000

As expected, the University of Tennessee has been fined $5,000 by the Southeastern Conference office in response to fans storming the court at Thompson-Boling Arena following last Saturday's 80-76 upset of No. 2 Florida. The official release from the SEC office follows:

TENNESSEE FINED FOR SPORTSMANSHIP POLICY VIOLATION BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 24) – The Southeastern Conference announced today that the University of Tennessee will be fined $5,000 for a violation of the league's access to competition area policy.

The policy, which went into effect on Dec. 1, 2004, states that "access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all time. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy."

The violation occurred following Tennessee's 80-76 win over Florida on Jan. 21 as fans entered the competition area of the Thompson-Boling Arena.

"This policy is designed to create a safe environment for everyone who participates and attends our athletic contests," said Slive. "I understand the exuberance of the moment but the security and protection of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans is our primary concern."

The policy, approved by all 12 SEC institutions, imposes financial penalties for violations in the sports of football, men's and women's basketball, at the discretion of the Commissioner. Institutional financial packages 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 a third and subsequent offense.

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