STARKVILLE — For the first time this season, Mississippi State football fans will be allowed to bring cowbells into Davis Wade Stadium and to use them when No. 25 MSU plays host to No. 3 LSU at 7 p.m. Thursday (ESPN).
On Monday, MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin encouraged Bulldogs fans to be responsible when ringing the cowbells so the school won”t be penalized as a result of the Southeastern Conference”s artificial noisemaker policy.
“We need to do a great job every game this year and build off that,” Stricklin said. “We have a pretty high-profile game starting at home, so we need to be in midseason form as a fan base, as a university.”
The compromise among the 12 school presidents of the SEC-member schools was struck in the summer of 2010 and was implemented last season on a trial basis. Last June, the SEC presidents approved by a voting majority to extend the temporary change to artificial noisemaker policy that was drawn up last year. The policy will allow MSU fans to legally bring a cowbell into Davis Wade Stadium.
“This is a good day for Mississippi State and for fans everywhere who believe traditions are an important part of the college football experience,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum said after the vote. “I appreciate (SEC) Commissioner (Mike) Slive and our SEC colleagues working with us to allow cowbells to continue to ring in Davis Wade Stadium within the rules.”
The SEC policy states cowbells can”t be used during live action. MSU fans violated that element of the policy twice last season in games against Auburn University and the University of Georgia, which resulted in fines totaling $30,000. The first offense was $5,000, while the second offense went up to $25,000.
“The entire Mississippi State community is grateful to the presidents for the opportunity to keep one of the great traditions of college football alive for another year,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said in a university statement in June. “Our fans deserve a great deal of credit for their compliance with the compromise that was reached a year ago, and their actions allowed us to preserve this cherished tradition.”
The fine structure stipulates every violation the SEC levies against MSU will be another $50,000 payment. The jumbotron at Davis Wade Stadium will be used again to inform fans when it”s appropriate to ring and when it”s not allowed.
Mullen explains Auburn headset issue
In the fourth quarter of MSU”s 41-34 loss at Auburn on Saturday, the contest was delayed several minutes while Bulldogs coaches dealt with technically difficulties.
Mullen explained Monday that not only did the coaching headsets stop working, but they also had a major malfunction for minutes in a MSU drive.
“Our headsets exploded and it wasn”t like they shut off,” Mullen said. “It was actually like there was an amplified microphone in the middle of the stands with a screeching noise behind it.”
Once the malfunction occurred, Mullen informed the officials, which caused the delay in play.
“You couldn”t have it on your head, so I handed it to the referee and
said, ”Do you want to listen?” and he said, ”No, I”m OK”,” Mullen said. “It hurt. They flipped over and the whole thing was shot.”
According to SEC rules, if one team”s headset equipment fails the opposing coaches must stop using theirs.
Mullen dismissed any rumors of wrongdoing by Auburn officials, saying the audio came back minutes later before MSU”s drive ended.
“One official came over and told (MSU offensive line coach) John Hevesy, and he had it around his neck, said, ”Keep listening so that when it comes back on we can get back to having headsets”,” Mullen said. “I guess he thought we were still listening and the umpire said, ”You can”t do that” and we said, ”you just told me to”.”
Cristil will be first honored at LSU game
MSU play-by-play broadcaster Jack Cristil will be the first of four honored with permanent recognition inside Davis Wade Stadium at halftime of the game against LSU.
During the 2011 Maroon-White spring game, MSU announced a permanent honor for Cristil, former linebacker Johnie Cooks, former
quarterback Jackie Parker, and linebacker D.D. Lewis in a ring around the stadium.
Since announcing his retirement, Cristil has had part of Highway 82 in Starkville named after him.