Jeremy Pruitt ditched his orange-and-white checkboard gaiter in favor of a more traditional facemask for Tennessee’s game against Kentucky on Saturday.
Tennessee was fined $100,000 by the SEC on Friday for not adhering to the conference’s COVID-19 protocols, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. Ole Miss and Texas A&M also were hit with fines.
“I wore my mask wrong,” Pruitt said after UT lost 34-7 to Kentucky on Saturday.
Dellenger reported the fines are largely based on “sideline mask-wearing behavior from coaches, support staff members, strength staffers, etc.”
Pruitt wore a gaiter in Tennessee’s games against Missouri and Georgia, but it did not cover his mouth and nose.
He said after the Vols beat Missouri on Oct. 3 that wearing a gaiter was “absolutely the easiest thing.”
“At practice, just trying to be able to blow a whistle,” Pruitt said. “You can see our officials. That is why they are using the electronic one, but it is hard when you have it up and have to pull it down.
“It is much easier the way I wore it today to tip the front of it down and it comes back up.”
Tennessee Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt and Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops chat before a game between Tennessee and Kentucky at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Photo: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel)
SEC spokesman Herb Vincent told Knox News the fine will be taken in the form of a $100,000 reduction in conference revenue. He also stated a second offense increases to a fine of $200,000, a third offense is a $300,000 fine and so on.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey reportedly had sent memos to schools warning of the reduction in conference revenue for not complying with SEC regulations regarding the pandemic.
News Sentinel reporter Blake Toppmeyer contributed to this report.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.