Posted: 12:11 pm Friday, October 30th, 2009
By Post Staff
Now you’ve really done it, Lane Kiffin. You picked the wrong guy to call out in the media — SEC commissioner Mike Slive.
This past Sunday, a day after a few calls went against Tennessee in its 12-10 loss at Alabama, Kiffin called out Slive’s penalties for criticizing the refs, making fun of the “public reprimand” as having no teeth.
“I’m sure we’ll get one of those letters that really means nothing as Bobby got last week, but Florida and Alabama live on,” Kiffin said Sunday.
This was one time you shouldn’t have opened your mouth, Kiffin. Because Friday, the SEC announced that all violations of SEC Bylaw 10.5.4 — which requires coaches not to be make critical statements about SEC referees in public — will now by enforced “by suspensions and fines, effective immediately.”
“There are proper channels available for head coaches to use when communicating officiating concerns to the Conference office,” Slive said.
That was the bad news for Kiffin, who already has two public reprimands in his 10 months as UT coach. Now the worse part: “The length of the suspension and the amount of the fine will be at the discretion of the Commissioner.”
The SEC says the changes were made in a unanimous vote among the 12 SEC athletic directors and “with the full support of the Conference’s twelve Presidents and Chancellors.”
Kiffin, of course, isn’t the only offender. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino have both earned reprimands for complaining about bad calls in their losses to Florida. Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson also has been critical of SEC referees.
The SEC also announced that violations of the rules by assistant coaches or support personnel will be enforced against the head coach as well.
The SEC has acknowledged several wrong calls this year by its officials, and suspended the officiating crew that worked the LSU-Georgia game on Oct. 3 and Florida-Arkansas game on Oct. 17.