Mississippi State fans can keep ringing their cowbells at Davis Wade Stadium, and so long as they comply, the issue won't have to be revisted on a yearly basis.
At the spring meetings in Destin, Fla., the SEC's presidents and chancellors voted today to extend the Cowbell Compromise, which was reached in 2010. The revised noisemaker policy made cowbells legal, but fans can ring only at designated times – during pregame activities, timeouts, halftime and after MSU scoring plays.
The so-called "sunset provision" was lifted, which the policy won't have to be voted on again every year – unless MSU isn't compliant or someone raises the issue with legislation. State was fined $30,000 in 2010 for violating the policy twice, but there have been no violations since. Any subsequent violations will result in a $50,000 fine per offense.
MSU president Mark Keenum said, in a statement, "Mississippi State fans have shown tremendous respect for this beloved tradition by following the rules and 'ringing responsibly.' 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."
Other notes from the final day of the SEC spring meetings.
• Several items were voted on and passed, including the 6-1-1 football scheduling model. That means each team plays all six division foes, plus one permanent cross-divisional opponent and one rotating cross-divisional opponent. MSU's permament opponent will remain Kentucky.
• SEC basketball teams will play an 18-game schedule. The setup: eight one-time opponents, four rotating home-and-home opponents, and one permanent home-and-home opponent. MSU's permanent foe is, of course, Ole Miss. Remember, there are no longer divisions in men's hoops.
• The women will play a 16-game schedule, featuring single round-robin games, one permanent opponent and two random opponents.
• The SEC Basketball Tournament format will make for an extra day of play. The first day will have the No. 11 seed versus No. 14, then No. 12 vs. No. 13. In essence, play-in games, with the 11/14 winner drawing the No. 6 seed, and the 12/13 winner getting the No. 5.
• The SEC announced its annual revenue distribution. The 12 current schools will split about $241.5 million, which works out to about $20,125,000 each. It's a 9.8 percent increase over last year's distribution.
Here's the revenue breakdown, in millions: Football TV, $116.6; bowls, $34.2; basketball TV, $31.2; NCAA championships, $24.9; SEC football championship, $15.3; supplemental distribution, $14.4; SEC men's basketball tournament, $4.9.
Total SEC revenue distribution in 1980: $4.1 million. Even after you adjust for inflation, it's an insane increase.