Why is the SEC fining South Carolina for something it has no control over?
It appears there's a price to South Carolina's stunning victory over top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.
The Southeastern Conference has fined the school $25,000 for violating conference rules by allowing fans to run onto the court after the Gamecocks' 68-62 victory. The conference said it was South Carolina's second safety violation, with a similar incident occurring after a victory over Kentucky in 2005.
Although I admire the SEC's eagerness to avoid a massive lawsuit in the name of safety, there was nothing South Carolina administrators could have done to prevent hundreds of fans from running onto the court.
Sure, rubber bullets and tear gas are always effective at getting a large crowd under control, but it seems that those kinds of preventative measures also have a habit of making the headlines for the wrong reasons. And ordering college students to not rush onto the court with a major upset looming is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
Ultimately, it's a shame the SEC had to flick some mud on South Carolina's big win over something no school in the country could control. I understand midcourt rushes can be very dangerous (I've been caught up in one myself), but fining a team isn't going to solve the problem.
The only tangible solution is for major athletic conferences like the SEC to educate fans on the dangers postgame mania. It may be an impossible task asking fans to keep their emotions in check, but it beats the heck out of wrapping the court with boards and plexiglass.
Watch the following video and let me know whether you think South Carolina could have done anything practical to prevent its fans from rushing the court. Do you think the fine is appropriate?
-- Austin Knoblauch