Urban Meyer was fined $30,000 on Friday for violating SEC bylaw 10.5.4 when he publicly criticized an official for missing what Meyer felt should have been a personal foul on Georgia player Nick Williams for a late hit on star quarterback Tim Tebow.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said, "Coach Meyer has violated the Southeastern Conference code of ethics. SEC bylaw 10.5.4 clearly states that the coaches, players and support personnel shall refrain from public criticism of officials. The league's athletics directors and presidents and chancellors have made it clear that negative public comments on officiating are not acceptable."
The SEC has been under public scrutiny this year because officials have made some highly controversial calls and non-calls. Recently, the league beefed up bylaw 10.5.4 to include fines and suspensions for league coaches who publicly criticize officials.
Meyer was the first to be fined under the new discipline guidelines, although he wasn't the first coach to complain publicly this year for questionable officiating.
Lane Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, and Dan Mullen have been vocal in their disapproval of league officiating this year, and an officiating crew has been suspended after poor calls in the Georgia vs. LSU game, and the Arkansas vs. Florida game.
While the fine to Meyer certainly signals a message to coaches that public questioning of officials will not be tolerated, is it a strong enough deterrent?
Urban Meyer is scheduled to make $4 million dollars this year in base salary. Meyer will also be paid for performance bonuses, endorsements, speaking engagements, book royalties, appearance fees, and TV and Radio shows.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that Meyer will make five or more million dollars this year.
So the question has to be asked. How hard does $30,000 hit Meyer fiscally?
Even at the base $4 million dollar salary, Meyer's fine is equivalent to a speeding ticket to you and I.
For someone earning a $30,000 a year salary, Meyer's fine is equal to a $225 dollar fine...or four dollars and 33 cents a week.
That's right, $4.33...or one fancy coffee a week.
That's .62 cents per day.
$225 fine to the average guy is not a deterrent. Look at all the idiots speeding on the roads. Many of these guys have gotten more than one speeding ticket for about this price, and they're still reckless fools.
I can tell you the fines imposed by Mike Slive had better get stronger, because $30,000 ain't gonna stop Lane Kiffin (speaking of reckless fools) from blowing up after yet another Tennessee loss.
At four dollars and change for each infraction, go ahead and say what you want Urban...you can afford it. And really take a good shot next time, don't hold back.
For now, Urban Meyer is being contrite and saying the right things.
In a statement released by UF, Meyer said, "As I stated last week, I have great respect for commissioner Mike Slive and the Southeastern Conference and I respect this decision. There was no intent to criticize an official after being asked about a situation that occurred last Saturday and I apologize for my remarks."
It will be interesting to see if the SEC has to deal with any more public criticism of officiating this year. If it happens again by any coach, will Mike Slive go straight to suspension?
SEC coaches will have gotten the point, and I expect this phenomena to end at this fine. It would take either another monumental blown call, or a monumental thick headed coach (Kiffin) to take Slive another step up the discipline ladder.
If this were to happen, expect the fine to be a cup of coffee AND a donut.