The joy of South Carolina’s 72-67 upset of No. 17 Kentucky will come with a price.
The SEC announced on Monday that USC will be fined $25,000 for violating the league’s institutional rule that prohibits fans from entering the playing surface of football, basketball or baseball venues. Hundreds of USC students swarmed the court after the Gamecocks’ win over the Wildcats on Saturday, which triggered the fine.
The rule reads that for the safety of participants and spectators, the playing surface is off-limits at all times. Penalties for a first offense are up to $5,000; a second offense can cost up to $25,000 and a third or subsequent offense can cost up to $50,000. If a school violates the rule and doesn’t do it again within a three-year period, the violation is considered a second offense.
“South Carolina has incurred fines for violations of the policy on two other occasions, but more than three years have passed since the last violation in January of 2010,” the SEC said in a statement.
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USC last had a court-storming celebration, coincidentally, when the Gamecocks’ basketball team beat Kentucky. USC topped the then-No. 1 Wildcats 68-62 on Jan. 26, 2010, at Colonial Life Arena and fans crowded onto the floor to celebrate. USC paid a $25,000 fine then and will do the same now.
“This policy is designed to ensure a safe environment for everyone who participates and attends our athletic events,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans are the top priority.”
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