Big 12 fines Baylor $25,000 for field storming

Baylor fans storm the field following Baylor's 27-14 win over the University of Oklahoma on Nov. 13 at McLane Stadium. Photo by Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

The Big 12 announced Tuesday a public reprimand and $25,000 fine on Baylor for its handling of field storming incidents that occurred during and after Saturday’s 27-14 win over the University of Oklahoma. The Big 12 said the punishment is in accordance with Big 12 Conference Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct policies.

“We have a duty to ensure a safe game environment that provides the visiting team secure egress from the field for players, staff and support personnel, and protection of the team bench area,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “I appreciate Baylor’s advance planning and communication, and although well planned, the end-of-game circumstances made its field storming plan impossible to execute, resulting in an interruption of play, impeding the visiting team from reaching their locker room and damage to OU bench area equipment.”

Fans rushed the field at McLane Stadium with a few seconds still left on the clock, causing OU players to retreat to the locker room to avoid the crowd. After several minutes, fans were corralled to the sidelines before flooding the turf once again after the game officially ended.

OU head coach Lincoln Riley expressed his irritation with the ending of the game due to not only the rushing of the field, but the timeout by head coach Dave Aranda to take a field goal in the final seconds.

“I mean, it became a safety issue,” Riley said. “I care about the safety of the players … I know why Dave tried to kick the field goal. I don’t agree with it. I think, above all else, there’s a code of sportsmanship I believe in and I wouldn’t have done it, but that’s his decision and his team. How the officials don’t enforce a penalty when you have 5,000 people on the field is unbelievable to me. It is what it is. That’s his decision and the officials’ decision. I don’t agree with it, but it’s part of it.”

The timeout is what sparked the field controversy as fans assumed the game was over. However, once it was made apparent the game had not yet finished, 11 OU players had to be brought out of the tunnel for one last play as Aranda sent out his field goal unit. Aranda said the kick was in preparation for a case of a three-way tie in the conference standings, which could result in the two teams playing in the Big 12 Championship being decided by point differential. Aranda addressed the situation in both his postgame press conference and his weekly Monday press conference, saying that he understands Riley’s frustration and hopes they can talk soon.

“I have made a call to Lincoln and I’m sure we’ll talk soon,” Aranda said. “I’ll probably keep that between us.”