‘Horns Down’ Ruling Inconsistent
You want one more reason why Big 12 officiating is infuriating?
Here it is.
According to Greg Burks, the league’s director of officials, giving the Horns Down signal isn’t illegal.But you may get penalized for it.
Like they don’t have enough problem calling pass interference, fumble or no fumble, holding, targeting … the list is so long.
Now they have to make moral judgments on the field.
“If you’re going to do it, go back to the bench area,” Burks said. “We don’t monitor players when they go back to the bench. Then they can do what they want to do. But when you’re in the middle of the field and drawing attention just to yourself, if it’s viewed to be unsportsmanlike, then that’s a foul.”
You know where all this is coming from, don’t you?
You might recall that when WVU played Texas in a hotly contested a football game, WVU wide receiver David Sills V got a bit exuberant after scoring a touchdown and gave the Horns Down sign.
Now you have to understand sports today has become far more competitive symbolically than physically. While they keep legislating hard hits out of sports, trash talking has grown to proportions beyond the areas of sportsmanship that once were considered important.
Fans hold up signs that ridicule, mascots make fun of the other team’s mascot, student sections organize far worse things than a Horns Down sign … but if a player is no longer allowed to hit you in the head, he can certainly pierce your most sensitive points of pride, and in college football few are more revered than Texas’s Bevo the Longhorn and what he stands for.
To give you an idea of just how inconsistent the officiating is in this matter, after Will Grier scored his now famous two-point conversion to beat Texas in that same game, he, too, flashed the Horns Down sign.
So what’s up?
This is how Burks put it at Big 12 Media Day.
“The answer I will give you is it depends,” Burks said. “It’s like any unsportsmanlike act. If somebody scores quickly, turns to their cheering section and it’s quick and they move on, we’re not going to do anything with that.”
Call that, if you must, the Will Grier interpretation.
“If it’s to a bench or to another player, and it’s prolonged, it would be an unsportsmanlike act,” Burks continued.
Call that the David Sills V interpretation.
“Like any play, there is a degree, who it’s directed at, and if they do it in their bench area, we’re not going to look at it. It would be like any other celebration foul, so it has to be like any other foul we have. Does it rise to the level we need to deal with that?” Burks concluded.
Or didn’t conclude.
It depends upon you perspective, I guess.
“The way the question was put to me from a Texas perspective is if Horns Down is a foul, how come Horns Up isn’t a foul, right?” Burks said. “So, it’s the manner in which it’s directed and what it means. It comes back to interpretation, so I’ll leave it on the officials to make that determination.”
Now, block or charge?