Reports: SEC fines three programs for mask failures

Reports: SEC fines three programs for mask failures

The Southeastern Conference fined at least three programs this week for failing to follow proper COVID-19 guidelines during Oct. 10 games, according to several media reports on Friday.

Stadium Network reported that Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Tennessee were the three programs sanctioned by the league.

ESPN previously reported that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey sent a memo to conference members last week threatening to withhold $100,00 from the conference revenue distribution plan if a program did not properly follow established protocols. The amount would increase by $100,000 for each subsequent week of noncompliance, according to the memo.

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was shown wearing a loose-fitting bandana over his nose and mouth during his team’s loss to Alabama. Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt sported an orange-and-white gaiter that covered his head, but not most of his face, during a loss to Georgia. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was often shown on-camera with his mask pulled below his chin both on Oct. 3 against Alabama and Oct. 10 against Florida.

According to Sankey’s reported memo, teams could be disciplined further with possible suspensions for continued violations.

The SEC has dealt with troublesome COVID headlines all week. Two games — Vanderbilt at Missouri and LSU at No. 10 Florida — scheduled for Saturday have been moved to December after rising numbers of cases hit the rosters of the Commodores and Gators.

On Wednesday, Kiffin admitted publicly his team is also dealing with an outbreak but didn’t delve into specifics. That same afternoon, Alabama coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne announced they both tested positive for COVID-19.

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