MSU faces fines if football fans don't 'ring responsibly'

August 19, 2010 10:14:00 AM

David Miller -

 

STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State fans now know what the consequences will be if they don''t "Ring Responsibly" this football season.  

 

On Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., Southeastern Conference athletic directors put the finishing touches on the fine structure for artificial noisemakers, which was the final element of the June cowbell compromise between MSU and the other league members. 

 

The fines will be per game and not by violation, Stricklin said Wednesday. The fines start at $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second and $50,000 -- the fine cap -- for the third.  

 

Although MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin knew the fine structure was coming, he had little reaction to the amount of the fines and said he didn''t guesstimate or have an expectation of how the structure would follow. 

 

"I''m an optimist, so I''m not concerned about it," Stricklin said. "I know our people will respond positively. I don''t think that will be a factor. The league felt like we needed to have something in place, not just for artificial noisemakers, but for institutional noisemakers." 

 

Stricklin stressed the fine structure''s consistency between artificial noisemakers, like cowbells, and institutional noisemakers, which would include music over loudspeakers.  

 

It was one of several points Stricklin made Wednesday in an attempt to keep the excitement about the 2010-11 season concentrated on the football team and not the potential fines from ringing cowbells out of turn.  

 

"I''m not nervous, I''m excited," Stricklin said. "I''m going to be excited about us playing football. I know there''ll be some interest on how it sounds when they have to stop ringing, but it''s going to be loud in there with 55,000 people. I''m optimistic our crowd will respond positively." 

 

For the first time in 36 years, MSU fans will be allowed to carry cowbells into home SEC games as long as they''re used during timeouts, scores, and in between halves.  

 

The compromise includes a one-year trial. After that, a decision could be made to make the cowbells legal. 

 

Stricklin and the athletic administration have made strides to get the "Ring Responsibly" agenda across to the fan base. The rest of the SEC has lauded those efforts, Stricklin said.  

 

Still, don''t expect MSU to ratchet up cowbell awareness ads on radio or TV in preparation for the SEC opener against Auburn. 

 

"We''ve gotten great feedback at the lengths we''ve gone to educate our fan base," Stricklin said. "You don''t want it to become a dominant effort, though. I think we''ve got the word out pretty good, and, at some point, we''ve got to remember the purpose of getting together is to have a high-energy game atmosphere."