“Oklahoma football has been called for its share of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, but the recent incident from last week’s Texas-West Virginia game may be cause for concern for the Sooners, who largely invented the “horns down” hand gesture.”
Last week during West Virginia’s gutsy 42-41 win in Austin the Mountaineers were robbed of 30 yards in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
In a symbol all-too-well known to Oklahoma fans, Mountaineer players pointed their two outside fingers towards the ground, inverting the Texas Longhorns’ hand gesture during the game. While this should certainly draw the ire of the orange-clad fans and players, it inexplicably drew another group’s attention in the officials.
It’s long been contended by Texas coaches and others that the symbol should be a penalty and though the league has no official rule on the gesture, last week’s actions by the officials sets a dangerous precedent with heavy implications for Oklahoma in the future.
The Sooners have turned the Horns Down symbol into their own, using it far more often than just one weekend a year in the Cotton Bowl. It’s part of being a Sooner player and fan. You see recruits doing it when they commit and fans using it to greet each other without words. It’s a part of Oklahoma culture. One of the most unforgettable Oklahoma-Texas moments of all time was Kejuan Jones flashing the symbol as he scored the game-deciding touchdown in the 2002 win over the Longhorns.
Let’s not forget that all of this hand gesture complaining comes from a school that traditionally yells “OU sucks” as part of their fight song. They might not be the official words, but they can often be heard by the band and sometimes the players. It’s practically the team’s motto.
This is college football and these are traditions that make it fun. Texas earns the right to yell “OU sucks” when they succeed against Oklahoma and OU has the right to the “Horns Down” when they do the same against Texas. They are called bragging rights for a reason.
So to Tom Herman, if you want to stop teams from doing that hand gesture, maybe you shouldn’t let a team get a two-point conversion on your home field, especially when you know what play they are going to run.
And to the officials, don’t sterilize the best sport in the world with arbitrary rules.