Vol fans react to chaotic ending of Saturday night’s game
Water bottles, beer cans, golf balls, and a mustard bottle seen thrown onto field.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - In a five point loss to Ole Miss, the Saturday night game at Neyland Stadium didn’t end in typical fashion. Play was stopped with under a minute remaining as some University of Tennessee fans started throwing trash onto the field after a controversial call by the officials on fourth down.
Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin was hit by a bright yellow golf ball, as the Ole Miss players moved away from the sideline and the Tennessee band and cheerleaders were evacuated.
“I hope that people know that a lot of people probably feel the way we do and don’t get why people would do that,” one UT student said.
The Chancellor of UT, Donde Plowman, said she was astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans in a Tweet thread Saturday night.
“I am astonished and sickened by the behavior of some Vol fans at the end of tonight’s game. Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers. Behavior that puts student-athletes, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate. I will be calling Chancellor Boyce in the morning to offer my personal apology on behalf of the University of Tennessee and discuss what we can do to make this right. Neyland Stadium has always been a place for families, and we will keep it that way,”
Other fans said they were “embarrassed” and that the scene was a “bad look” for the university. Some fans said they hope that the crowd can be better the next time they host a home game.
Danny White, Director of UT Athletics, apologized to Ole Miss on the behalf of UT.
“Our Tennessee fanbase had much to be proud of through 59 minutes of football Saturday night - they created one of the best live sporting atmospheres I’ve ever experienced - but what transpired in the game’s final minute was unacceptable. Player and fan safety is paramount at all times. While I’m incredibly proud of our team’s effort on the field, I’m disappointed that their relentless performance was overshadowed in the game’s closing moments by the actions of several fans whose actions did not represent the Volunteer Spirit or the true character of our university. On behalf of the University of Tennessee, I’d like to apologize to the Ole Miss football program and congratulate their student-athletes on a hard fought win. I spoke to Keith Carter after the game and expressed that same sentiment to him.”
A spokesperson for UT announced on Sunday night that any students who are identified by the University of Tennessee Police Department who took part in throwing debris onto the field during Saturday night’s football game, will not be able to attend future games.
The spokesperson also said that they will be installing more security cameras pointed at the students section in case this happens again.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the actions of the fans during the game were unacceptable.
“The Conference has established expectations for behavior and sportsmanship, and the actions of fans at Saturday night’s game were unacceptable under any circumstances. We are accustomed to intense competition every week, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to endanger the contest participants and disrupt a game. We will review existing Conference policies and the Commissioner’s authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee - and all of the SEC’s member universities - to make certain this situation is not repeated.”
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