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SEC amends policy on cowbells


After an amendement voted upon Friday at the SEC annual spring meetings, Mississippi State fans will be permitted to use a cowbell execept for when the center is over the ball and during the play is in motion.

After an amendement voted upon Friday at the SEC annual spring meetings, Mississippi State fans will be permitted to use a cowbell execept for when the center is over the ball and during the play is in motion. Photo by: Photo provided by MississippI State University



Matt Stevens


DESTIN, Fla. -- The Southeastern Conference clarified its wording of the artificial noisemaker rule Friday, specifically known to Mississippi State fans as the cowbell compromise.  


The amendment voted upon at the league's annual meetings in Destin, Florida will now allow "the use of institutionally-controlled, computerized sound systems (including music), institutionally-controlled artificial noisemakers, and traditional institutional noisemakers at any time, except from the time the offensive center is over the football until the play is whistled dead" 


"This proposal will enhance the fan experience and provide institutions with the flexibility to appeal to their fans by the use of musical and institutionally-controlled noise," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said via a written statement Friday.  


Under the previous rule, the policy allowed fans to ring a cowbell only during pregame, halftime, between quarters, timeouts, after scoring plays and during possession changes.  


The league imposed a $25,000 fine upon MSU for violation of the SEC's Artificial Noisemaker Policy during the 2013 football season and further violation by the Bulldogs program will result in a $50,000 fine for future seasons. Slive announced the fine last December, which is the first monetary fine for the school since the end of the 2010 season, and made it clear more severe penalties could be coming from the school if the fans continue to not 'ring responsibly' as accordance with the school's marketing campaign. 


"By virtue of the current legislation, the conference has recognized this long-standing tradition at Mississippi State," the SEC commissioner said in December. "It should be noted, however, that continued violation of the policy could lead not only to substantially higher financial penalties for the institution, but also to a review of the existing legislation concerning artificial noisemakers."  


After an 11-0 vote, SEC school presidents approved in 2011 to extend the temporary change to artificial noisemaker policy that was drawn up the previous year to allow MSU fans to legally bring in a cowbell to the campus football stadium after the school symbol was banned by the league from 1974-2010. 


"The cowbell is obviously one of our most cherished traditions here at Mississippi State," MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin said in December. "Our fans have done a great job in following our guidelines in adhering to the SEC policies related to artificial noisemakers the last couple of years but we must remain diligent in this matter and not allow lapses to occur in the future. We strive to educate our fans on ringing responsibly at appropriate times during home games at Davis Wade Stadium and will continue that education so that we may keep this time-honored tradition alive as a major part of our program's heritage."  


MSU fans will still not be allowed to bring and ring a cowbell into an opponent's stadium.  


"(MSU president) Dr. (Mark) Keenum and I have worked closely with our SEC counterparts to preserve this unique tradition. This recent development underscores the fact that we must redouble our efforts to educate our fans and alumni about the need to 'ring responsibly' and the serious consequences of failing to comply with league policies," Stricklin said.  




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.



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