DALLAS – The final seconds run off the clock and instantaneously there are thousands of fans flooding over the railing and onto the field.
In the mass hysteria that follows a major victory for a college football program; coaches, players and officials from both teams have to get off the field, which can be a nightmare.
Some conferences, such as the SEC, have put fines in place to keep schools from having their fans rush the field after a big win. In the spring SEC meetings, they agreed to $50,000, $100,000 and $250,000 fines for first, second and third-time offenders to this policy.
The Big 12 Conference will have no such policy.
“Relative to court storming and field storming, we’re taking a little different approach than others,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said during Day One of Big 12 Media Days. “We are choosing to manage it rather than prohibit it. That is a daunting task, there isn’t any doubt about it. We think that, properly managed, those kinds of celebrations can be a lot of fun.”
On Monday in Dallas at the Omni Hotel, Bowlsby addressed the media to open Big 12 Media Days and stated they have looked at this issue as a conference.
During the offseason, the Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw led a sportsmanship initiative for the Big 12 looking at inappropriate chants in stadiums and other issues of fan misconduct along with the field storming.
The first aspect of controlling it will be fan safety, Bowlsby said if there is an eight-foot wall around the football stadium they will have to take precautions to make sure people aren’t jumping off it and hurting themselves.
Secondly, the safety of the teams, coaches and officials on the field once the storming begins.
“It is up to the home management to manage the game environment,” Bowlsby said. “Band first and foremost among that is getting the officials and the teams and the coaches and the participants in the event safely off the field and to their locker rooms and making sure that they can safely and efficiently dispatch their responsibilities within the game environment.”
Even though the Big 12 doesn’t publicly have a fining system like the SEC, Bowlsby said this will be a wait-and-see to see if the schools will manage it properly or not.
If the schools do not manage the rushing of a field or court properly, the Commissioner of the Big 12 said he does have power to take care of it if it becomes an issue.
“I do have broad prerogative in terms of reprimands and fines and a full array of considerations that will allow us to manage it if we disagree that it hadn’t been managed properly on campus,” he said.
Having these new sportsmanship rules in place will be important to the Big 12 because, as Bowlsby said, it preserves the great facet of college football.
“We also believe that the best parts of college athletics and the things that really differentiate us from other kinds of athletics is the tradition and the historical rivalries and the regularity of competition and all those things that go along with it,” he said.
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