STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin wants the school's fans to practice proper "cowbell etiquette" when the No. 3 Bulldogs host No. 2 Auburn on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.
Mississippi State fans have long brought cowbells to games, even when they were deemed illegal noisemakers. The Southeastern Conference approved the cowbells in 2010, provided they are not used when the opposing team is trying to run offensive plays.
Stricklin posted a note on the school's athletic website Wednesday criticizing the "25 or so percent of fans who continue to ignore the rules on cowbell etiquette."
"This totally perplexes me," Stricklin wrote. "Dak Prescott doesn't need fans ringing when they shouldn't to make a dazzling play for our State. Benardrick McKinney doesn't need fans ringing when they shouldn't in order to deliver a crushing tackle. Why anyone who professes love for this university would ring their cowbell when they've been told not to do so is beyond me. It's selfish and disrespectful, two things Mississippi State does NOT represent.
"When you ring at times not allowed, you are telling Mark Keenum, Dan Mullen, myself and thousands of Bulldogs who have worked hard to legitimize this great tradition at our games that you don't appreciate their efforts, and that you're willing to risk having cowbells removed from Davis Wade Stadium altogether in the future."
The school has consistently run "Ring Responsibly" commercials on its video board during games, but the sound of cowbells can still often be heard during important situations.
"Remember, we are allowed to bring cowbells into Davis Wade Stadium because the other 13 SEC schools voted to allow it," Stricklin concluded. "If we continue to have problems following the rules, then they may decide to rescind that privilege. The last thing any of us want is to have to install metal detectors at the gates."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.