USC fined after fans storm court following UK upset

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WIS) – The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that the University of South Carolina will be fined $25,000 for a violation of the league's access to competition area policy after fans entered the court following its men's basketball game upset win over Kentucky.

The Gamecocks beat No. 17 Kentucky 72-67 at Colonial Life Arena Saturday.

South Carolina (11-18, 4-12 Southeastern Conference) led by three at halftime and hit six of its first eight shots in the second half to go up 48-32 with 14:13 left. Kentucky made a furious charge after Calipari was tossed, but came up short.

The Wildcats (21-8, 11-5) couldn't make a basket, going 15:38 with only one field goal - on a goaltending call. Calipari was ejected with his team down 12 after getting a second technical with 10:21 left. He walked out of the arena with his suit coat buttoned but his shirttail out.

Calipari's team responded with a 28-17 run and, after a three-point play by Julius Randle, Kentucky trailed 68-67 with 22 seconds left. But freshman Sindarius Thornwell hit two free throws for South Carolina, and Alex Poythress' attempt at a tying 3-pointer fell short.

It was South Carolina's first win over a top 25 team in more than three years and lifted the Gamecocks from last place in the SEC.

According to the policy, "access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times.  For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area. It is the responsibility of each member institution to implement procedures to ensure compliance with this policy."

The policy imposes financial penalties for violations in all sports sponsored by the SEC at the discretion of the Commissioner. Institutional penalties range from $5,000 for a first offense to fines of up to $25,000 for a second offense and up to $50,000 for a third and subsequent offenses.  If an institution is penalized and subsequently does not have a violation for a period of three years from the date of the last violation, that subsequent violation shall be considered a second offense.

South Carolina has incurred fines for violations of the policy on two other occasions, but more than three years have passed since the last violation in January of 2010.

"This policy is designed to ensure a safe environment for everyone who participates and attends our athletic events," said SEC commissioner Mike Slive.  "The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans are the top priority."

The league's access to competition area policy went into effect on December 1, 2004.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.