ESPN — Big 12 coordinator of officials Greg Burks said at Big 12 media days on Thursday that cracking down on taunting will be a point of emphasis for the league this year.
Midway through taking questions from reporters, Burks was asked about the "gift that keeps on giving" for Big 12 officials: the Horns Down symbol, a taunt directed at Texas that has been an on-and-off struggle as a judgment call for officials.
"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."
Burks said if a player turned to the crowd to throw the sign, it "probably" would not be a penalty.
We haven't even gotten to August and the Big 12 is already bowing down to Texas.
You know, there is a way to almost completely eradicate opponents taunting Texas with the Horns down gesture — and it is a bit out there, so I'm not sure anyone has thought of this previously, but that's why I'm here. Don't let them beat you.
If you want to ban throat slashes and things like that, fine. But anything one team can do, the other should be able to. I'm still not over John Kelly's 15-yard penalty for doing the Gator chomp after scoring in the Swamp in 2017. If Texas is going to run around doing their little hand signal, then Oklahoma should be able to flip it upside down after they beat the Longhorns for the sixth time in seven years. Call it both ways.
And sports need more taunting in general. Baseball has become noticeably more popular on social media and with a younger audience once players like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. burst onto the scene and started flinging their bats damn near into the dugout after they launch 450-foot homers. Let the players have some fun.
But I guess in the Big 12, only Texas is allowed to flash any sort of signal resembling horns in any direction. Sad.