SEC commissioner Greg Sankey wasn’t bluffing when he threatened to penalize schools for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M were all fined $100,000 for failing to adhere to the conference’s mask-wearing regulations during game day, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. ESPN reported Thursday that the money will be deducted from each school’s conference revenue distribution.
On Friday, Sankey revealed to ESPN that SEC programs can face a cumulative penalty of $1 million. The first offense is $100,000, the second goes down as $200,000, the third calls for $300,000 and the fourth is $400,000. Schools are not required to disclose a fine on the first offense. However, Sankey said that he’ll announce which schools have been penalized when it happens more than once.
Coaches Must Lead by Example
Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt turned out to be the culprit of his team’s first infringement. He donned an orange-and-white-checkered gaiter that did not cover his mouth or nose in Tennessee’s 44-21 loss to Georgia on Oct. 10.
“During [the Georgia] game, I had problems communicating and I pulled my mask down and I didn’t realize it until after the game was over,” Pruitt said.
Jeremy Pruitt is wearing a mask covering every part of his face but his mouth pic.twitter.com/QcYH0iUJbV
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) October 10, 2020
Pruitt made sure to avoid the same mistake against Kentucky on Saturday, though. He opted for a more traditional mask that covered both his mouth and nose.
Sankey has put an emphasis on “head coaching compliance” as of late, so Pruitt’s decision to wear a black and grey mask over the weekend bodes well for the SEC if it wishes to finish the season.
Both Florida and Vanderbilt have had COVID-19 outbreaks within the last 10 days. Although both teams are currently in quarantine, they have still had a direct impact on other teams around the SEC.
After ESPN’s report that Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M were fined for breaking in-game coronavirus protocols, the SEC announced the rescheduling of six games:
- LSU at Florida moves from Oct. 17 to Dec. 12, time and network TBA
- Vanderbilt at Missouri switches from Oct. 17 to Dec. 12, time and network TBA
- Missouri at Florida changes from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network Alternate
- Kentucky at Missouri moves from Oct. 31 to Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. ET on SEC Network
- Georgia at Kentucky switches from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31 at noon ET on Sec Network
- South Carolina at LSU remains on Oct. 24, changes game time to 7 p.m. ET on ESPN