The By-law in question states the following (I capitalized what I feel are significant words): "No artificial noisemakers shall be brought into or used at ANY sporting event conducted BETWEEN Southeastern Conference institutions." Note it says any sporting event and not just football. It also specifies between SEC schools and not games involving non-SEC schools.
Unlike years past where there were no penalties, this By-law has specific penalties (for football only at this point):
1st Time - Warning.
2nd Time - 5-yard penalty.
3rd Time - 15-yard penalty.
Here is a list of the Task Force members. They, along with members of their respective organizations (I will not name the additional folks' names), spoke at the meeting.
Task Force Members (all of them spoke):
MSU Interim President Dr. Charles Lee and Head Football Coach Jackie Sherrill also gave their opinions as to what should be done.
Here are my impressions of the meeting.
There was a lot of give and take. In fact, I was very impressed with the candor of the folks who spoke. I had come into the meeting thinking it could very well be one-sided. It was definitely not that. No one held back their opinion or feelings for that matter. While there were very deep-rooted feelings expressed about the seventy-year old MSU tradition of the cowbell in almost all of those who spoke, every person also understood that MSU will have to comply with the SEC By-law. Many of the comments were the same comments that I have seen numerous times on my message boards. Plus, there were many very innovative ideas that I feel would add greatly to gameday and not break any SEC By-law.
It is my opinion that this Task Force was made up of folks with every opinion that you could have about this issue. No opinion was left without a voice. Not a single person came in ready to rubber stamp any one opinion. It was obvious that each person took this matter very seriously.
The bottom line:
The consensus among the Task Force is that this is a very complicated issue and one that will be very, very difficult to figure out. One thing I did get from the meeting is the cowbell tradition will live on in some form. One form discussed in my interview with Larry Templeton is the cowbell sound through the sound system. There were other possibilities offered but I'm not at liberty to discuss those. However, I can say this, all possibilities will abide by the SEC By-law. That is not in doubt.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.