Big 12 officials aiming to crack down on taunting in 2021, including 'Horns Down' gesture

ARLINGTON, Texas -- 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."

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Burks said if a player turned to the crowd to throw the sign, it "probably" would not be a penalty.

"Please all of you note, I said 'probably,'" Burks added. "We have to consider intent and consider the situation. We'll leave it to officials."

Two years ago, Burks fielded similar questions.

"I know people want us to be definitive on that, but it's like any touchdown celebration," he said in 2019. "Is it directed at an opponent or just celebration with your teammates?"

But this year, the league singled out taunting as one of its biggest priorities for officials.

"I promise you, we discuss this every year, because you discuss this every year," Burks said. "I hope in the future that somebody else's symbols will come into play and not just the Horns."
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