The fallout of Saturday’s Florida-Missouri brawl will cost coach Dan Mullen $25,000 and deprive the Gators of one of their starting defensive linemen for the first half of their biggest game of the year.
The SEC announced Monday that Mullen was reprimanded and fined for “violating SEC Bylaws governing sportsmanship.” Lineman Zachary Carter and linebacker Antwuan Powell were both ejected for fighting, the SEC said they must automatically serve half-game suspensions for the next game.
Carter, a Hillsborough High alumnus, is tied for the team lead with 3 ½ tackles for a loss and started UF’s first four games. Powell, a four-star freshman, made his first appearance for UF against the Tigers.
Three Missouri players — linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey — also received half-game suspensions for fighting after the SEC’s review. Because the Tigers are off this week, those three players must miss the start of their game against Georgia on Nov. 14.
“There is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place at halftime of the Missouri at Florida game Saturday night,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic.”
The brawl appeared to start because of a high, late hit UF quarterback Kyle Trask took on the final play of the first half. Mullen ran onto the field and began yelling at the Tigers, referees or both. He said he was trying to keep his players from getting into trouble ahead of the upcoming game against Georgia.
A scuffle ensued, with multiple players shoving or throwing punches. When the fight was over, Mullen had to be restrained by security and his staff for a second time. He later shook hands with Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
In a statement, Mullen said he respected the conference’s decision.
“As the head coach, it is my responsibility to defuse these types of situations,” Mullen said, “and I didn’t live up to that standard.”
UF and Missouri released a joint statement Sunday saying that the incident does “not reflect the values of our program or University” and that both programs will learn from it so it doesn’t happen again.