The Texas Longhorns unwittingly made headlines when Big 12 officials said that the Horns Down hand gesture would probably be a penalty. The officials in that respective league have made an emphasis to remove an element they constitute as taunting.
The NCAA’s own rule book would allow the banning of the Horns Down taunt. Per the NCAA rulebook, a player can not do things that “provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game,” including but not limited to:
a) Pointing the finger(s), hand(s), arm(s) or ball at an opponent, or imitating the slashing of the throat.
(b) Taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent verbally.
(c) Inciting an opponent or spectators in any other way, such as simulating the firing of a weapon or placing a hand by the ear to request recognition.
(d) Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon himself (or themselves).
(e) An unopposed ball carrier obviously altering stride as he approaches the opponent’s goal line or diving into the end zone.
(f) A player removing his helmet after the ball is dead and before he is in the team area (Exceptions: Team, media or injury timeouts; equipment adjustment; through play; between periods; and during a measurement for a first down).
(g) Punching one’s own chest or crossing one’s arms in front of the chest while standing over a prone player.
(h) Going into the stands to interact with spectators, or bowing at the waist after a good play.
Hypocrisy revealed. In the rule book I highlighted items (a) (b) and (g). The NCAA has determined that it will not allow you to simply point at an opponent. Then there is to be no taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent “verbally” and don’t you dare stand over a prone player with your arms crossed.
However taking the U and throwing it down as an ultimate sign of disrespect to the university and its players is NOT taunting. How? If you alter your stride while scoring they take a touchdown off the board and call it excessive taunting. However taking the U and bringing it down to your balls is fine.
Let me say that if the shoe was on the other foot and this was an ACC tobacco road school Miami would have been penalized years ago. It is taking the blue blood Texas Longhorns to shed light on something that by rule definition should have been banned years ago.
My biggest issue here by the way is with Manny Diaz or whoever the head coach might be. That symbol has always personally bothered me. It is the equivalent of giving my wife the middle finger. They are complicit in this.
And these opposing players choose to do it because it isn’t baseball. Period end of story. Openly disrespect a school like that and next time you dig in the box, you are going to wear the imprint of the ball. That game polices itself. Hockey? Go ahead and do something that openly disrespectful and the goon squad will meet you at center ice. That game polices itself.
College football? You can egregiously disrespect the school and the opposing player gets to hide under the referee’s skirt. They are unabated to any pushback. Because the opposing head coach doesn’t want the penalty and the ACC currently allows it.
That is the prison teams find themselves in. It is taunting. The NCAA definition says it is. You can’t dare even point at the guy who is doing the U taunt though because that in itself is a penalty.
I don’t want the U taunt or the Horns down taunt to be completely stricken from the sport. At the end of the game when you win do it a million times if you want. You earned the right to. Healthy trash talk and pushback are part of the game. It always will be.
But let’s be honest here, the ACC is doing a bad job at enforcing its own rules. And the fact that it is disadvantageous to Miami doesn’t surprise a single Hurricane fan.