At the annual SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, this week, SEC athletic directors took up the issue of Mississippi State's most treasured tradition - The Cowbell. Coaches of opposing teams have complained for years about the "noisemakers" and they were eventually banned by the SEC.
Still, the Maroon faithful smuggled their treasured cowbells in any way they could (the author has even used his baby's diaper bag as cover).
This year, new MSU AD Scott Stricklin proposed a compromise that was accepted by the SEC and will be in effect for 1 year. It will be re-evaluated again next summer to see if adjustments need to be made.
As part of the compromise, cowbells can be carried into Scott Field without threat of having them taken. In exchange, fans can only ring them at specific times during the game: pregame, halftime, between quarters, times, after scoring, during possession changes - basically whenever the school is allowed to play music over the loudspeakers, you can ring your bell.
What happens if the bells are rung out of turn? The penalty structure is still being worked out for that.
But progress is progress, even though I will probably feel a bit funny walking into Scott Field this year with a cowbell in my hands and not tucked under my jacket with the clapper wrapped in paper.