Players Not Upset At Vanderbilt Fans
GAINESVILLE - The SEC may be upset about Vanderbilt's inability to keep fans from storming the court last Saturday after its win over then-No. 1 Florida, but some Gator players said the postgame celebration was perfectly understandable.
In fact, some even took it as a compliment, albeit in a strange kind of way.
"It's kind of like a sign of respect,'' junior center/forward Chris Richard said. "I'm not against it. Any team will do that when you have the best team in the country coming to play at your home
arena and win a game.''
Vanderbilt defeated the Gators 83-70. The school was fined $25,000 on Monday by the SEC for its second violation of the SEC's policy prohibiting fans from running onto the competition area.
The policy, which went into effect on Dec. 1, 2004, states that "access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all time. For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition
The policy was approved by all 12 SEC institutions and imposes financial penalties for violations in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball, at the discretion of Commissioner Mike Slive. The penalties are $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for a second offense and $50,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.
Vanderbilt was fined $5,000 last spring when fans rushed the court after an NIT win over Wichita State.
UF junior center Al Horford said he fully expected the fans to storm the court after beating the Gators. If he were a Vanderbilt fan, he said, he probably would have done the same thing.
"It's in the moment, it's kind of like history for anybody like that,'' Horford said. "So it's just exciting.''