In December 2004 the Southeastern Conference became the first league to institute rules prohibiting fans from celebrating big wins by rushing the court or field. If a school failed in keeping spectators off the court they’d be fined, with the amount being $5,000 for a first offense, $25,000 for a second and $50,000 for a third.
Friday on the final day of the conference’s annual meetings, the SEC announced that fans rushing the court would cost its member schools even more in the future.
Instead of $5,000, a first offense will cost a school $50,000 with the fines for second and third offenses increasing to $100,000 and $250,000, respectively. These changes were approved by the schools, and the commissioner would be allowed to apply additional penalties (those aren’t specified in the announcement) if he saw fit to do so.
“This is designed to be a deterrent,” outgoing SC commissioner Mike Slive said, according to ESPN.com. “This is designed to try to change the culture about rushing the field, understanding that it’s viewed by some as a tradition. But it’s a tradition that runs into the question of health and safety of not only the fans themselves but the coaches and players.”
Also of note in this change is the fact that after the third offense, $250,000 is the least that a school would pay for its fans rushing the court of field. Originally the counting of offenses would “reset” three years after the first instance of fans violating the rule.