IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Big 12 issued a public reprimand Tuesday and fined Baylor $25,000 because students and fans stormed the field before time expired in the No. 11 Bears’ 27-14 victory Saturday over Oklahoma, and then again when the game was actually over.
Fans initially swarmed onto the field thinking the time had run out. Oklahoma players started heading to the locker room. But Baylor coach Dave Aranda had called timeout with three seconds remaining, and the field was cleared for the game-ending field goal before fans stormed onto the field again.
The Big 12 said the reprimand and fine was in accordance with the conference’s sportsmanship and ethical conduct policies. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league has to ensure a safe game environment and a secure exit from the field for players, staff and support personnel.
“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,” Bowlsby said in a statement.
After the initial storming, it took several minutes to get everybody off the field. There were also heated discussions between Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and officials before the Sooners got 11 players back out for the last play.
Aranda wanted the field goal for potential points-differential scenarios that are part of the tiebreaking process that could determine who goes to the Big 12 championship game.
Riley said he was concerned about the safety of his players, since Baylor students were streaming out of the stands from behind the Oklahoma bench. Many of those students were crammed on the sideline for the kick.
The two coaches both said they wouldn’t share publicly what they’ve said to each other about the situation.
Aranda said Monday he didn’t anticipate the referee working closest to the Baylor sideline already being over the ball when the coach went to call timeout.
“I think at the very end, if I would’ve anticipated our ref on the sideline working over the ball, I would have told him earlier what we were doing,” Aranda said during his weekly availability.
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