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SEC announces player suspensions, Dan Mullen fined $25,000 – 247Sports

The SEC announced penalties Monday afternoon regarding the fight that took place Saturday between Florida and Missouri heading into halftime. Commissioner Greg Sankey issued suspensions and handed down a fine to Florida head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen will not be suspended for the Georgia game Saturday, but received a public reprimand. 

On an untimed down near midfield with no time on the clock, Gators quarterback Kyle Trask attempted a Hail Mary pass to the end zone, which was ultimately incomplete.

Trask was the victim of a vicious late hit by a Missouri defender on the play, which prompted a massive brawl between the teams that featured multiple thrown punches. Mullen was later accused of instigating the brawl when video showed him running off the sideline and yelling at Missouri players.

Because they were ejected from the game, the SEC has suspended Florida defensive lineman Zach Carter and linebacker Antwuan Powell for the first half of Saturday’s game vs. Georgia.  Mullen has been fined $25,000 for violating SEC Bylaws governing sportsmanship. 

“There is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place at halftime of the Missouri at Florida game Saturday night. Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic.”

The SEC has also suspended three Missouri players. Linebacker Chad Bailey, offensive lineman Dylan Spencer and defensive lineman Markell Utsey will all miss the first half of Missouri’s next game vs. Georgia Saturday.

FOX analyst Reggie Bush believes Florida players were correct for standing up for their quarterback.

“That was a dirty hit. … And he took a running start too, he was watching Trask the whole time, hit him right in the face,” Bush said. “I loved the way Dan Mullen responds like this because this shows me Dan Mullen cares about his players. Obviously, we never want to see it get to this point with a fight, but these players had every right to respond like this. You hit our quarterback in the face like this, you’re gonna catch hell from us. If that happened to Matt Leinart at USC, we would’ve responded the same way.”

As the players were clashing at midfield, Mullen and Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz had a heated altercation too. Eventually, the teams were separated and sent to the locker room, but not before they came to blows and drew multiple penalties.

Once the dust settled, officials assessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to everyone on both teams. Additionally, Florida’s Zachary Carter and and Antwuan Powell were ejected. Tre Williams was also ejected for Missouri.

The incident apparently fired up Mullen quite a bit because he fired up the crowd as he walked off the field and returned for a curtain call before making his way to the locker room. Amidst the chaos, his Gators took a 20-7 lead into halftime.

It had been a while since the Gators have been on the field. Following their loss at Texas A&M on Oct. 10, an outbreak of COVID-19 hit the program. It was forced the postponement of Florida game’s against LSU and pushed back the game against Missouri to this week.

In addition to players, the virus outbreak also included Dan Mullen.

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“Thank you Gator Nation for all your support for the program this week,” Mullen tweeted Oct. 17. “Thankfully, everyone impacted is recovering well and has experienced mild to no symptoms. I have also tested positive for COVID and have received word that my test has been confirmed. I’m continuing to self-isolate from my family, who all remain healthy, and am following all the guidelines set forth by UF Health, the CDC and our public health officials. I am proud of how our players, staff and campus community have navigated this unprecedented time and hope all continue to be safe.”

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