Cowbell issue clanging at SEC meeting

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

The SEC’s athletics directors and coaches convened in Destin, Fla., on Tuesday for the annual league meetings, and a couple of hot-button topics of concern to Mississippi State were on the table.
Of greatest interest to Bulldog fans is that the SEC is considering tightening its 1974 rule banning artificial noisemakers at athletic venues. Cowbells, of course, are a staple at MSU football games, and as long as fans have been able to smuggle them inside the gates, they’ve been free to ring away.
“The policy that’s been in place for 36 years, that despite our best efforts has been a challenge to enforce, I’m open to suggestions on how to make that work better as far as following the conference policy,” first-year MSU AD Scott Stricklin said. “But also I think it’s important for us when we have those conversations, I think it’s an opportunity for us to talk about the importance of the tradition.”
Another hot topic is doing away with divisions in men’s basketball and simply seeding the postseason tournament based on records.
Western Division teams were 0-24 against the top four Eastern teams last season – Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Florida. Yet MSU, which won the West and had a 9-7 league mark, was a No. 1 seed and had a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament.
Mississippi State lost to Kentucky in the title game.
“I don’t know why we would do anything drastic there,” Stricklin said. “I think divisions are good for the sports that we have them in.”
There was plenty else talked about Tuesday:
– Florida head football coach Urban Meyer revealed that his health issues in January stemmed from “esophageal spasms.” He suffered from chest pains brought on by contractions in his esophagus.
He took medication for the problem and showed up in Destin in fine shape.
“The biggest thing is all that was related to what the heck were those pains going throughout my chest?” Meyer told The Gainesville Sun. “Once you find out what it is, life gets a little better quickly.”
– Of course expansion was discussed. It’s been in the headlines ever since the Big Ten started talking about it a few months ago, and any expansion by the SEC would be a reaction to Big Ten expansion.
“I think commissioner (Mike) Slive is going to study it, is going to know everything about it, and if he feels like we need to make a move to expand, we’ll do it,” Georgia football coach Mark Richt told the Orlando Sentinel. “I trust the best decision for our league will be made.”
– The league said this year’s SEC men’s basketball championship game, between MSU and Kentucky, was the highest rated pre-NCAA tournament game on any TV network during the 2009-10 season.
The meeting continues through Friday.