Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has been fined $25,000 for his use of social media Saturday after the game made in violation of SEC Bylaw 10.5 related to officiating in the Auburn at Ole Miss football game of October 24, according to a release from the Southeastern Conference on Monday.
The fine stems from comments Kiffin posted via his Twitter account following his Rebels 35-28 loss to Auburn, where the Tigers were the beneficiaries of a missed call by league officials. It was the second time this season Auburn benefitted from a mistake by officials that aided in a win for the Tigers.
Here is the remainder of the SEC release on the situation.
"On the kickoff return in the Auburn at Ole Miss football game at 5:43 in the 4th quarter, the SEC has determined the replay official should have stopped the game for further review of the play. In the football officiating replay process every play is reviewed but, when appropriate, the game is stopped for further review. Because the play was not appropriately stopped for further review, the necessary slow-motion view of the play was not viewed by the replay official to determine if the ruling on the field should have been reversed. The SEC Office conducted a review of the play and appropriately communicated its findings above to Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin and other athletics department personnel per conference protocol. However, Mr. Kiffin's use of social media Saturday following the game to publicly criticize officiating is in violation of Conference Bylaws and Commissioner's Regulations that govern Sportsmanship and communication with the Conference Office on officiating issues."
While the fine is warranted by rule and Kiffin is undoubtedly aware of the prohibition on such actions, who can blame him for being upset and standing up for his team, even if he did it in violation of conference rules.
Now that those things are established, it's time to get to the real issue here. What will the conference do about the officials who have played a pivotal role in two Auburn wins?
Many have long believed that the SEC and other Power 5 conferences should go to full-time officials whose only job is to be the best officials possible for their league.
Currently, officials are not full-time employees, and many work other jobs throughout the week leading up to a weekend trip to a member city for a game. It can be a challenging situation where these officials work at less than one-hundred percent when they arrive.
It's time for the conference to look at some changes in how they handle officiating to alleviate the need for reviews, criticisms, and fines. Arkansas and Ole Miss, along with the rest of the conference, deserve as much.
NOTE: The Southeastern Conference contributed to this story with its press release.