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18 ARRESTED, 47 EJECTED AFTER TENNESSEE OLE MISS GAME

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A University of Tennessee Police Department spokesperson has released the preliminary number of arrests and ejections from Saturday’s Tennessee-Ole Miss game that was marred by fans throwing trash onto the field at Neyland Stadium.

Preliminary records show 18 people were arrested and 47 people were ejected at Tennessee’s 31-26 loss against Ole Miss, a UTPD spokesperson said. University Chancellor Donde Plowman said Sunday that campus police are working to identify those responsible and students would lose the ability to attend future games if found to have thrown debris.  The university will work with law enforcement to put safeguards in place to deter future incidents at the stadium. Vice Chancellor of Communications and Marketing Tisha Benton said additional cameras focused on the student section could be installed at the stadium.

With just 54 seconds left in the contest, the game was delayed roughly 20-minutes as fans threw trash onto the field and caused Tennessee cheerleaders and band members to vacate the field. The game eventually resumed and the Vols had a last-second chance to win the game but fell by five points.

In the post-game press conference, head coach Josh Heupel started by addressing the display.  “First, I just want to acknowledge for the few fans, what transpired at the end and disappointed on how the game ended as things were being thrown from the crowd, but I know that’s very few of our crowd members. For most of the football games, that was an unbelievable atmosphere to see Vol Nation show out the way they did.”

UT administration were quick to denounce fan conduct, with UT chancellor Donde Plowman reaching out to University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce to apologize.  “Good sportsmanship must be part of who we are as Volunteers,” said Plowman in a tweet. “Behavior that puts student athletes, coaches, visitors and other fans at risk is not something we will tolerate.”

Alongside academic faculty, UT athletic director Danny White released a statement on the incident.

While I’m incredibly proud of our team’s effort on the field,” said White. “I’m disappointed that their relentless performance was overshadowed in the game’s closing moments by the actions of several fans whose actions did not represent the Volunteer Spirit or the true character of out university.”

At the conference level, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released his own statement on the matter. “We are accustomed to intense competition every week, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to endanger the contest participants and disrupt the game,” Sankey said. “We will review existing Conference policies and the Commissioner’s authority to impose penalties and communicate with the leadership at the University of Tennessee — and all of the SEC’s member universities — to make certain this situation is not repeated.”

 


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