Mississippi State has urged its fans to “ring responsibly” when it comes to clanging its cowbells during football games.
The SEC felt the message fell on deaf ears, handing down a $25,000 fine to the Bulldogs athletic department on Friday.
“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.”
It was MSU second violation of the artificial noisemaker policy. The Bulldogs were fined $5,000 following the 2010 season. Future offenses could face $50,000 fines.
“The cowbell is obviously one of our most cherished traditions here at Mississippi State,” said MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin. “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.”
Rebels also fined $25K
Ole Miss was also fined $25,000 by the league office for a second offense having fans rush the playing field following a game.
The violation occurred after the Rebels’ 27-24 victory over LSU on Oct. 19. Ole Miss was also fined following the 2012 Egg Bowl.
Missouri and Auburn were also penalized $5,000 each for a first offense after fans rushed onto their respective playing surfaces on Nov. 30 after wins over Texas A&M and Alabama, respectively.
“These were some of the most exciting and intriguing games of the college football season and we understand the exuberance of our fans in the celebration of their schools’ victories, but these incidents pose a significant risk of injury and we must always make the health and safety of our student-athletes and fans the top priority,” Slive said.
A third violation by Ole Miss also faces a fine of up to $50,000.