Florida Bill
Florida State fans gather on the field after the team's 45-38 win over Florida State in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

New Florida Bill Wants to Criminalize Storming the Court

New legislation from the Florida State Senate wants to criminalize the entrance of fans onto the field or court after a game is played. In other words, storming the field.

The Bill named “Interference with Sporting or Entertainment Events” was introduced by Republican State Senator Corey Simon.

What does the bill say?

In the bill, Simon states that a person who is not a player, coach, official or sanctioned participant cannot knowingly enter the field or court of an athletic event at any time.

The Bill also says that a fan is prohibited from any contact with any of the sanctioned participants or having a “dangerous instrument.” Simon defines a ‘dangerous instrument” as any object, article or substance that can or will inflict damage to an individual.

The bill also states that a non-sanctioned participant cannot throw anything that can inflict harm onto the playing surface.

The penalty for committing the proposed crime will carry out as a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty would be one year in jail or a 2,500 fine.

They Can’t Stop All of us

What does this mean for the University of Florida? Well, not too much. The University of Florida has had a staunch record for field/court storming.

Under former Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, he made it clear that at any university-played games, no fan will enter the playing surface at any point.

But under the Stricklin Era, the only instance where fans did storm the playing surface was last year. Against the second-ranked team in the nation, the Gators upset Auburn. This was the highest-ranked win in the O’Connell Center.

So, some fans stormed the court.

https://twitter.com/onlygators/status/1495147040975773701?s=20

Other than that, the Gators have never stormed the field/court. Not even in the Hail Mary win against Tennessee in 2017. Or when the Gators beat FSU in 1997, the only time Florida has beaten the first-ranked team in the nation at home.

But the lack of field storming from the Gators has not stopped others.

What About Other Florida Universities?

Florida State has had a long history of storming. The bill proposed by former FSU football player Corey Simon hurts his alma mater more than any other school.

FSU loves to storm the playing surface. Just last year, the Seminoles were 10-point favorites in their game against the Gators. Florida was coming off a historic loss to Vanderbilt, and yet the FSU fans stormed Doak Walker stadium.

But outside of Florida State, schools like UCF and Miami do not have a history of field storming.

Simon’s Redactable Statement

Corey Simon, the man who proposed the bill, has responded to opposers of the bill. Simons called it fake news when Barstool Sports posted the headline “Florida Lawmakers, Known Clowns, Want To Make Storming The Field A Crime.”

If Simon wants to keep the fan celebration afterward, critics suggest that he needs to be more specific in the drafting of his bill.

Right now, the bill doesn’t have a stipulation on when fans are able to be on the playing surface. For now, there is still some hope for the future of Florida field storming.

About Nick VanZandt

Nick VanZandt is a senior journalism student at the University of Florida and this is his third semester working for WRUF.

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