Kentucky hit with $250K fine after fans swarmed field to celebrate Florida upset

Hopefully Kentucky fans got their money's worth.

Or the Kentucky athletic department's money's worth, to be precise.

Wildcats fans were stoked on Saturday after Kentucky held off a late Florida drive to secure a 20-13 upset of the 10th-ranked Gators. They promptly swarmed Kroger Field after the game clock hit zero. Because that's apparently what you do when when you score a home win over Florida for the first time since 1986 — a span that included 16 straight home losses to their SEC rivals. The win was also the first for Kentucky over a top-10 opponent since 2010.

On Monday, the bill came due for the party. The SEC announced a $250,000 fine for Kentucky's third violation of the league's "access to competition area policy" that declares "at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area."

Kentucky fans flood the field after their team won an NCAA college football game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)
Kentucky fans flood the field after their team won an NCAA college football game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

Kentucky's been fined before

The policy holds host programs responsible for violations. Hence the fine for UK athletics. The number represents an escalation for Kentucky, which has been fined twice before under the policy. It endured a fine of $100,000 in 2018 after some fans rushed the field following a win over Mississippi State. Fans also rushed the field in 2014 after a win over South Carolina. Were Kentucky not a repeat offender, the fine would have likely been $100,000.

To senior defensive end Josh Paschal, the celebration was probably worth it.

"It was like a dream," Paschal told the Louisville Courier Journal on Saturday. "You’re only going to play in so many games where you’re going to have a crowd rush the stadium. That was my first time. They came in fast too. 30 seconds into it you could barely walk. I love this."

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, left, has his photo taken with a fan on the field after winning an NCAA college football game against Florida in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis didn't seem to mind the on-field party on Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

The fine was the second of its kind handed down by the SEC this season. It docked Arkansas $100,000 after fans celebrated a Sept. 11 win over Texas by rushing the field.

If there's any solace for the schools that get fined, the money goes to a good cause. Per the Journal, fine money goes into the SEC's post-graduate scholarship fund.