The SEC threatened fines for teams whose coaches and staff members didn’t abide by the conference’s mask-wearing protocols. And the conference was serious about those threats.
According to reports from Sports Illustrated and Stadium, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M are among the schools who were fined for improper face covering procedures during their Oct. 10 games. The SEC’s fines were first reported by ESPN, which said that schools were fined but didn’t identify the schools.
The fines aren’t exactly surprising. Jeremy Pruitt wore a checkerboard orange and white gaiter on his head but not his face for most of his team’s loss to Georgia.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has spent more time with his face covering around his neck than he has with it actually over his face. Fisher’s team beat Florida on Saturday.
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin wore a bandana over his face during his team’s loss to Alabama, though it’s important to note that the fines aren’t necessarily directed at head coaches. There have been numerous assistants and staffers across SEC sidelines who haven’t been very good at following the conference’s guidelines.
According to the ESPN article, the SEC has even threatened suspensions if the violations of the conference’s protocols continue.
"We started on Monday using broadcast game footage evaluating every time a head coach is on camera, is a mask up, yes or no?" Sankey said on ESPN Radio Friday morning. "If you don't have that mask in place a super-majority of time ... that puts you in jeopardy of a fine."
The money the SEC is fining schools will come out of the conference’s revenue distributions.
The SEC’s threat of fines came before Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Saban did test negative on Thursday, however, and he could potentially coach in person on Saturday if he tests negative Friday and Saturday and the positive on Wednesday was ultimately a false positive. Saban has said he has not felt any symptoms this week.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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