NORMAN, Okla. – During the Big 12 Conference Championship, OU football players will reportedly be penalized for making the ‘horns down’ hand sign on the field this weekend.
The news has fans and a former Sooner coach steaming.
“It’s unbelievable that we are here discussing this,” said former OU head football coach Barry Switzer.
This isn’t the first time a team will be penalized for making the gesture. Earlier this month, West Virginia was penalized twice after Mountaineer players made the ‘horns down’ sign after scoring against the Longhorns.
During his coaches show, OU head coach Lincoln Riley said he went to the Big 12 to get clarification on the rule. He says that players will not be able to do the ‘horns down’ hand gesture without penalty.
Coach Switzer says the Hook’em up and down are just part of the rivalry.
“Why in the world? This has been going on before anybody who even thought about making this a penalty was alive. You know, I have taken literally thousands, Brent, thousands of pictures through the years of me with Texas fans. I don’t know if he went to school there, if he lives in Texas, but he supported the University of Texas, but he did ‘horns up,’ I would do ‘horns down’ and we would laugh and shake hands and go about our business because we are fans of the school,” said Switzer.
Fans flooded social media on Wednesday to bash the Big 12’s decision.
“I think it’s fun to see players be passionate about the game. It’s a longstanding rivalry, it’s fun to see them jab at each other,” said Dillon Brewer, an OU student.
“I have friends that go to UT and they do the ‘OU sucks,’ they do I don’t even know what they really do, but they say the same things. We just happen to have a better hand sign for it,” said Kristin Wilpits, of Norman.
“I think that’s stupid, honestly,” said Patrick Turner, another OU student.
“I don’t understand why all of a sudden political correctness spills over into a rivalry because of something that really has no meaning at all other than, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Texas, I’m not a fan of Texas,” said Switzer.
Repeated calls to the Big 12 office for a statement on why they are making this ruling have not been returned.
However, the Big 12 Conference tweeted, “If in the judgement of the on-field officials, any action by game participants deemed an “Unsportsmanlike Act” is subject to penalty in accordance with college football rules. To read NCAA rule 9.1, click here: https://big12.us/2TU3a9O .”