June 2, 2012 10:37:59 AM
STARKVILLE - The Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors voted Friday to continue the cowbell compromise established two years ago.
The provision allows the use of cowbells during football games in Davis Wade Stadium on the campus of Mississippi State University.
SEC administration also lifted the annual sunset provision in the rule making future votes unnecessary on the matter unless MSU is deemed to have consistently violated the policy in place. This action will enable Bulldog fans to continue to use the artificial noisemakers, with restrictions, on a more permanent basis.
"Mississippi State fans have shown tremendous respect for this beloved tradition by following the rules and 'ringing responsibly.' Their efforts provided validation for the case I made with my fellow SEC presidents and chancellors," MSU president Mark Keenum said. "I told them the cowbell has special meaning in our Bulldog family, and that those feelings were evident in the way our fans responded over the past two seasons."
The SEC put into place legislation last year that stated the fine structure would be $5,000 for the first violation and $25,000 for the second violation with the school's next additional penalty would be $50,000. No fines have been announced stemming from the 2011 season.
"We appreciate the vote of the Southeastern Conference membership in maintaining one of the great traditions in college athletics," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said. "It is an affirmation of the work we have done to educate our fans of the league's institutional sound policy, and our fans' commitment to following the guidelines. It remains incumbent upon us to continue the process of educating our fans so that a long-standing tradition may continue for years to come."
Last year the vote by the league coaches comes on the same day with Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen giving a passionate speech involving the cowbells usage in the funeral of former Mississippi State defensive end Nick Bell who passed away last November.
"They acknowledged the positive role our fans played in making this arrangement work," Keenum said. "I appreciate the support of Commissioner Mike Slive and my SEC counterparts in helping us preserve this great tradition. Now, more than ever, we must remain focused on 'ringing responsibly,' but I have every confidence that our fans will be vigilant and committed. Doing so will ensure that present and future Bulldogs can continue to ring their cowbells at Davis-Wade Stadium."
The cowbell policy on artificial noisemakers allows fans to use a cowbell only at Scott Field during pregame, halftime, between quarters, timeouts, after scoring plays and during possession changes. According to wording of the rule, MSU fans will still not be allowed to bring and ring a cowbell into an opponent's stadium.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
5. A Stone's Throw: The veil COLUMNS