The SEC has fined the University of South Carolina $25,000 in accordance with league policy after fans rushed the floor Saturday following the Gamecocks' 72-67 home victory against No. 17 Kentucky.
Dating back to December 2004, the SEC remains the only conference in college basketball with a tiered fining system in place for its schools that break protocol against court storming.
According to the SEC, "The policy states that 'access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times. 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 area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy.'"
A first-time violation is $5,000, with a second breaking of the rule upping to $25,000 and a third/all ensuing offenses equaling a $50,000 punishment against the school.
The clock resets if a school goes three years in between a previous violation. This is not the first time South Carolina's rushed to the hardwood after beating Kentucky, though. On Jan. 26, 2010, 11-8 South Carolina gave Kentucky its first loss of that season 68-62.
“This policy is designed to ensure a safe environment for everyone who participates and attends our athletic events,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans are the top priority.”
Yet for the stigma behind court-storming, even South Carolina's president took part of the fun on Saturday.
USC President Harris Pastides on the UK court storm: "Once I realized I was paying [the fine] anyway, I ran down … I enjoyed every dollar."— Thad Moore (@thadmoore) March 3, 2014