During the second day of Big 12 Media Days, the conference coordinator of officials Greg Burks handed down an ultimatum about the “Horns Down” symbol heading into the 2021 season.
Burks revealed that cracking down on taunting will be a major focus of the league this year. He maintained that the Horns Down gesture, when directed at Texas players, will be considered a penalty and be officiated as such.
“Lemme put it this way,” Burks said. “If you do a Horns Down to a Texas player as an opponent, that’s probably going to be a foul.”
However, Burks said that if an opposing player directed the Horns Down sign toward the crowd, it “probably” would not be a penalty.
“Please all of you note, I said ‘probably,’ Burks continued. “We have to consider intent and consider the situation. We’ll leave it to officials.”
For those that know what the Horn Down symbol is, it’s completely harmless. Those that don’t know can find more information about the popular celebration here.
Burks’ comments reignited a debate among college football fans, many of who couldn’t believe that the gesture would still be called a penalty. Many media members took to Twitter to discuss the decision and express their confusion about how the Horns Down sign continues to be brought up around the Big 12.
Horns Down shouldn’t be a penalty. It’s ridiculous that it is. https://t.co/1QayaH3szb
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) July 15, 2021
“Doing a Horns Down in the privacy of your bedroom, by yourself, probably won’t be a penalty, but we can’t rule out the possibility that it could be.” https://t.co/KwB1Ycwpo2
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) July 15, 2021
It will never not be funny how sacrilegious the horns down gesture has become across the Big 12. https://t.co/hAzYIc7Alg
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) July 15, 2021
Big 12 to crack down on taunting, including Horns Down gesture.
Soft as hell. https://t.co/OFekvPk0Kf
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 15, 2021
Every Big 12 school, including Texas, should just Horns Down after every play. I believe this falls under the Can’t Arrest Us All statute but we’ll check with our lawyer first. @celebrityhottubhttps://t.co/fwIfOkUCSF
— Bucks’ 5th Quarter (@B5Q) July 15, 2021
Check “Big 12 addresses horns down” off of your CFB offseason Bingo card
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) July 15, 2021
This hasn’t been the first time that the Horns Down sign has been brought up at Big 12 Media Days. In 2019, Burks fielded similar questions about the gesture and gave a similar answer.
Some fans and media members clearly get up in arms about the commonly used celebration, but for the most part college football lovers seem ready to move past the Horns Down discussion. Unfortunately, the debate isn’t likely to slow down soon and will likely linger throughout the 2021 campaign.