"The cowbell is obviously one of our most cherished traditions here at Mississippi State," MSU director of athletics Scott Stricklin said. "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.
"Dr. 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.
The SEC approved the use of artificial noisemakers “at football contests played on the campus of an institution with a traditional institutional noise maker” in 2010. The policy states an institution shall submit to the Commissioner an annual use plan explaining how traditional institutional noise makers shall be governed to ensure compliance with SEC Bylaw 126.96.36.199.
According to the bylaw, violations “shall be evaluated following the season for the imposition of fines as follows: 1st offense: an institutional fine of $5,000; 2nd offense: an institutional fine of up to $25,000; 3rd or subsequent offense: an institutional fine of up to $50,000.”
“By virtue of the current legislation, the conference has recognized this long-standing tradition at Mississippi State,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive. “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.”
Mississippi State was last cited for violation of the current policy following the 2010 season.