• 72°

SEC fines Kiffin $25K for criticizing officials

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference has fined Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin $25,000 for his complaints about officiating on social media.

The league announced the fine on Monday, but also said the replay official should have stopped play to review the call after Ole Miss’ fourth-quarter kickoff appeared to have touched the right hand of Auburn’s Shaun Shivers. The Rebels recovered in the end zone but the on-field call was that Shivers didn’t touch it and play wasn’t halted for a review.

A touchdown would have given Ole Miss an eight-point lead with 5:43 remaining. Auburn went on to win 35-28 on Bo Nix’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with 1:11 left.

“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 league’s statement said. “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.”

It’s unclear which social-media posts drew the fine but Kiffin did retweet one calling the officiating “a disgrace.”

Public criticism of officials “is absolutely prohibited” under SEC bylaws.

Earlier Monday, Kiffin said he had spoken to SEC coordinator of officials John McDaid. He said he was instructed not to publicly disclose the explanation given by McDaid.

“I asked the side judge, ‘Why aren’t they replaying it? Do I need to challenge?’” Kiffin said before the fine was announced. “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 that our fans and players could hear what I was told.”

Kiffin said he wanted “to take a five-minute power yoga class” to help him control his words to reporters after the call with McDaid.

“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 copy and everybody in the country can see it hit him,” he said.