Razorbacks fined $100,000 for court storm

Arkansas players and fans celebrate on the court, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, following the Razorbacks’ 80-75 win over Duke at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — The Southeastern Conference fined the University of Arkansas $100,000 on Thursday for a violation of league policy that prohibits spectators from entering the playing surface.

Thousands of Razorback fans stormed the court at Bud Walton Arena at the end of Arkansas’ 80-75 victory over seventh-ranked Duke on Wednesday. 

Despite a plea from public address announcer John George to stay off the court, students began lining up in aisles throughout the arena with about four minutes remaining. They quickly spilled onto the court as the final buzzer sounded. 

The SEC fined the Razorbacks for the third time in a little less than 27 months. Arkansas paid a $100,000 fine following a 40-21 football victory over Texas in September 2021, and paid $250,000 following an 80-76 overtime basketball victory over then-No. 1 Auburn in February 2022. 

Money collected from fines during non-conference play is added to the SEC’s post-graduate scholarship fund. A fine for an SEC game would be paid to the visiting school.

Fine amounts were adjusted earlier this year and each school’s number of violations reset. First-time violators are now fined $100,000, second-time violators fined $250,000 and any subsequent violations will cost $500,000 apiece. 

Schools that do not have a violation for four years will have their number of violations reset again. 

As part of the policy updated this year, the SEC requires each member school to create security protocols that will prevent rushing the football field or basketball court. 

“While fines don’t impact the immediate decision-making process of fans, they do provide an incentive from universities to develop strategies,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said earlier this year at the SEC Spring Meetings, according to The Athletic. 

New protocols put in place by the league were followed Wednesday in Fayetteville. The teams did not shake hands and a group of security personnel roped off an area to allow Duke’s team members to quickly exit the floor.