Kiffin fined $25K by SEC for criticizing officials, tweetstorm ensues

When the officials in Saturday’s Auburn-Ole Miss game chose not to review a potentially game-changing moment as a kickoff appeared to graze Tiger return man Shaun Shivers’ pinky, Rebel fans everywhere wondered why. Lane Kiffin wondered the same thing, but unlike the fans, his criticism of the conference’s officiating resulted in a $25,000 fine.

In his post-game press conference, Kiffin explained the officials told him on the sideline that the booth looked at the play and that “they didn’t see anything.” The first-year head coach later went on to retweet a post on Twitter calling the officials “absolutely atrocious” accompanied by a slow-mo video of the controversial no-call.

Monday, Kiffin detailed a conversation he had with John McDaid, the SEC Coordinator of Football Officials, and seemed less than pleased with what was said.

“I have really struggled with this, a lot. I just had the conversation with him, he called to explain what happened. I really wish for our players, for our fans, that they could hear what I was just told. I think they deserve to, but I asked and they made sure to tell me there’s a policy that I can’t tell you, the players or the fans their explanation for that situation and how the TV copy and everyone in the country could see it hit him. I asked the side judge ‘Why aren’t they replaying it? Do I need to challenge?’. He said, ‘They’ve already looked at it, there’s nothing there’. I’m not allowed to say anything about the conversation, but I really wish our fans and players could hear what I was told. I’ve had to take about a five-minute power yoga class before I walked in here and said what I really want to. You know what I’d really like? I’d really like that when you guys ask me questions about managing the game or how I play players, to just say that’s a personal thing and I can’t discuss it with you. I would really like to be able to answer those questions like that,” he said.

The SEC has since clarified its position, and while admitting their mistake, they announced Kiffin’s fine.

“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.”

Shortly before the SEC’s announcement, Kiffin responded to a tweet saying that he was trying to save some money by biting his tongue during his press conference. Afterward, his Twitter feed provided all the entertainment that one could ask for on a Monday night.

When it comes to how he’ll pay the fine, most coaches probably cut a check, but Kiffin had another idea.

We’ll see if Kiffin’s activity on social media will end with any additional action from the league office.