Do as we say, not as we do. That, apparently, is the new directive for the University of Oklahoma Sooners athletic program.
As you may or may not recall, less than two weeks ago OUDaily.com reported that the university told their cheerleaders not to do the “horns down” sign that has become a staple of any opponent fanbase’s arsenal anytime their school plays the University of Texas. The school also told the cheer squad that if they have any social media pictures they have of the “horns down” hand gesture, they all need to delete those as well.
Seven student members from across OU’s spirit teams, including the cheer squad, RUF/NEKS, Lil’ Sis and mascots programs, have told The Daily they’ve been instructed by OU Spirit Coordinator Phil O’Neill not to use the hand sign. The students, some of whom have graduated and some who remain in the program, all shared the information on the condition of anonymity. Their identities are known to The Daily.
According to the sources, on several occasions, including at a meeting in August 2018, O’Neill told the students they were not allowed to use the hand symbol. O’Neill informed them that any use of the hand symbol on social media would be asked to be removed. Several sources told The Daily they have been asked to delete posts with horns down in them over the past two years.
OU Daily also reported that as recently as the 2017-2018 season “spirit squads were strongly encouraged to do it only at the OU-Texas game.”
This news came after the Big 12 decided that players who flash the “horns down” sign could face a possible unsportsmanlike penalty, as happened to West Virginia quarterback Will Grier during the 2018 college football season when he flashed the sign at UT fans near the end zone.
Sooners fans and former players, especially with an upcoming game scheduled against Texas for this Saturday, Oct. 12, were not pleased by this news.
“That’s just history. It’s tradition. They don’t like us, we don’t like them. They throw horns up, we throw them down,” said legendary former Oklahoma safety Roy Williams. “I guess you can take it as disrespect, but who gives a rat’s ass? This is football. If you’re hurt because we’re throwing the horns down, stop allowing us to beat your ass.”
On Tuesday, in an odd combination of hypocrisy and rebellion, the official University of Oklahoma Twitter account decided to hell with that nonsense.
Whoops.— Univ. of Oklahoma (@UofOklahoma) October 8, 2019
Needless to say, people fell into one of two camps with regard to the tweet. They either loved it to death, or thought it was the height of hypocrisy. (The vast majority fell into the former category – as in almost all of them.)
Goodness what has happened to this University?— Lucky_man98 (@Man98Lucky) October 8, 2019
You’re going to need to Adopt-A-Highway with the amount of unsportsmanlike penalty flags that are going to be littering Dallas on Saturday.— Big 12 Refs (@Big12Refs) October 8, 2019
The University of Oklahoma administration and, more importantly, the Big 12 really should have known better.