GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Urban Meyer of Florida became the first coach to be disciplined under the Southeastern Conference’s new policy regarding criticizing officials.
The league fined Meyer $30,000 on Friday, two days after he said referees missed a late hit against quarterback Tim Tebow in No. 1 Florida’s 41-17 win against Georgia. Meyer sent video of the play to the SEC office, but his mistake was telling reporters refs missed the call.
Last week, the SEC changed its policy about coaches publicly criticizing officials, making the punishment either a fine or a suspension and doing away with reprimands. The change came after Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino were reprimanded after they publicly questioned officiating.
“Coach Meyer has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. “SEC bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that the coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from public criticism of officials. The league’s athletics directors and presidents and chancellors have made it clear that negative public comments on officiating are not acceptable.”
Meyer apologized following the fine.
“As I stated last week, I have great respect for commissioner Mike Slive and the Southeastern Conference, and I respect this decision,” Meyer said in a statement. “There was no intent to criticize an official after being asked about a situation that occurred last Saturday, and I apologize for my remarks.”