SEC fines Ole Miss $5,000 for celebration

Ole Miss’ postgame celebration inside Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium following the Rebels’ 41-24 win over archrival Mississippi State will come at a price.

It isn’t a hefty price, but at least one wallet will be opened, after the SEC announced on Tuesday that the university will be fined $5,000 because fans rushed the field as time expired and the Rebels’ victory was in hand.

The rushing of the field was a violation of the league’s “access to competition area policy.”

The policy states that “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. 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 policy imposes financial penalties for violations in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, at the discretion of SEC commissioner Mike Slive. Penalties 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 offenses.

This is Ole Miss’ first violation, which went into effect on December 1, 2004, and judging by the reaction of players and coaches, especially head coach Hugh Freeze, the fine was well worth it after Ole Miss beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 2008.

This is mere pocket change for a celebration the Rebels have wanted for a long time.