Pac-12 penalizes field storming with monetary damages

The conference fines institutions $25,000 for the first offense


ERIN MULLEN | The Daily Evergreen

Fans sprint toward the middle of the field following a dramatic comeback victory.

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

WSU fought back from 21 points down in the final quarter of a game against Boise State on Saturday night. The fans — which were at one point silent — regained hope as they watched the Cougars force overtime at Martin Stadium.

The first and second round of overtime ended in a tie, but the third finished the game. A walk-off touchdown sent the crowd in a frenzy. Rushing the field was almost inevitable after the Cougs’ lowest win probability was 0.4 percent, according to ESPN.

Students and alumni hopped the rails, running toward the middle of the field. In a matter of minutes, the bleachers emptied onto the turf like water through an open floodgate.

The Pac-12 Conference Council monetarily punishes institutions following field storming. These fines double from the initial offense of $25,000 to the highest offense of $100,000.

Presidents and chancellors of schools in the Pac-12 approved sanctions last year to enhance post-game safety. California Athletic Director Mike Williams was one of the advocates for this new policy.

“The Pac-12 Council considered this policy and its impact on our fans who loyally support our teams,” Williams said. “This enhanced policy underscores the importance our universities place on the safety and welfare of our student-athletes, officials and fans.”

A 13-10 Wisconsin victory over Michigan prompted thousands of fans to rush the field in 1993. Almost 100 fans were injured — some severely. Even Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Panos assisted with helping injured fans off the field.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” Panos said. “I had to do what I had to do. A couple of them were blue, literally blue.”

Oklahoma State’s 44-10 win over Oklahoma in 2011 also left some fans in critical condition. Again, thousands stormed the field.

While fans have seemingly been the most common victim of post-game field rushes, student-athletes, officials and coaches are also at harm.