By CARL SMITH
For yet another football season, Mississippi State University fans will not have to smuggle their cowbells into Davis Wade Stadium tucked under their shirts or hidden in their purses.
University leaders from across the Southeastern Conference Friday voted to continue the 2010 policy which allows fans to ring cowbells at Davis Wade Stadium — at least during appropriate times.
Leaders also lifted the annual sunset provision in the rule, allowing State fans to continue ringing cowbells on a more permanent basis.
Under the 2010 “cowbell compromise” which formally allowed the artificial noisemakers back into Davis Wade Stadium, fans are only allowed to ring their bells during pre-game activities, halftime, timeouts and other similar play stoppage times and following scoring drives. Following the rule change two years ago, MSU began actively promoting “cowbell etiquette, Bulldog style” with its “Respect the Bell” campaign. The campaign aimed to educate fans on the proper times to ring their cowbells and remind them of potential fines against the university for improper use. In a release issued by the university, athletics director Scott Stricklin stressed the need to continue observing proper cowbell-ringing situations. Violations could result in a $50,000-per-game penalty.
“We appreciate the vote of the Southeastern Conference membership in maintaining one of the great traditions in college athletics,” Stricklin said in the release. “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.”
“Mississippi State fans have shown tremendous respect for this beloved tradition by following the rules and ‘ringing responsibly,’” MSU President Mark Keenum said in the same release. “Their efforts provided validation for the case I made with my fellow SEC presidents and chancellors. 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. They acknowledged the positive role our fans played in making this arrangement work. 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.”