Former Foes

SEC Officials Comment on Penalizing ‘Horns Down’ Starting in 2024

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Georgia vs Texas

While an unsportsmanlike conduct flag is usually a pretty notable occurrence on the football field, SEC officials spoke about penalizing players for the use of the Texas “horns down” hand signal in 2024 at SEC Media Days.

According to a report from Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, John McDaid, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, spoke on the use of the signal citing three different situations where the action would likely receive a penalty.


McDaid referenced signals like Florida’s Gator Chomp and Ole Miss’ Land Shark, saying that, “Unsportsmanlike conduct needs to fit one of three categories: Is it taunting an opponent? Is it making a travesty of the game? Is it otherwise compromising our ability to manage the game? There’s a difference between a player giving a signal directly in the face of an opponent, as opposed to doing it with teammates celebrating after a touchdown or on the sideline. To net all that out, every single occurrence is not an act of unsportsmanlike conduct.”

While the signal has usually been treated in a similar manner regardless of conference, when an opposing fanbase in college athletics has a set hand signal to hype up fans, it’s about as close to guaranteed as possible that an opposing fanbase will use it back to fuel taunts.

The Longhorns kick off their final season of Big 12 Football on September 2nd against Rice, and while the league didn’t have much negativity towards Oklahoma and Texas at Big 12 Media Days, in the event that either program struggles this football season, it’s a safe bet to say we’ll see some hand signals and “SEC” chants from fans.

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