It took less than half a season for the SEC’s newest and most outspoken head coach to get in trouble for flapping his gums. Even though Lane Kiffin’s mouth is getting him into trouble, he’s actually not in the wrong.
What has now become a weekly tradition in the SEC, Auburn was the beneficiary of a horrible call by SEC officials last Saturday in Oxford. After taking a one-point lead with just over five minutes to play, Ole Miss pooched the ensuing kickoff. The Auburn return man did not cleanly field the ball, instead choosing to let it roll into the end zone for a touchback.
Upon further review, Auburn clearly touched the football. Instead of a touchback, it should have been ruled a fumble with a clear recovery by Ole Miss in the end zone. SEC replay officials did not even step in to stop the play and confirm the correct call was made. Auburn immediately received the ball to begin a game-winning drive that ended with a Seth Williams touchdown.
Kiffin received an explanation from the league office prior to Monday’s press conference. The phone call with the league office left him enraged. He did his best to bite his tongue.
“I was late for this [press conference] because I was on the phone with [SEC director of officials] John McDaid … the SEC,” Kiffin said. “I really struggle 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…they made sure to tell me there’s a policy that I can’t tell you, the players or the fans what their, if you want to call it, explanation for that situation and how TV … everybody in the country could see it hit him.”
Hours later the SEC publicly admitted that Kiffin was correct, yet still slapped the Ole Miss head coach with a $25,000 fine for calling out the officials’ incompetence.
“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,” the SEC said in a statement.
“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 conference ruled that Kiffin inappropriately used social media to share his grievances Saturday after the game. If they thought these Tweets were inappropriate…
Trying to save some ? https://t.co/rtlHNPSACW
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) October 26, 2020
… here’s what he said after he was fined.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) October 27, 2020
Lane Kiffin may not be good at math, but he’s great at social media.