‘Horns Down’ taken down by BYU administration at BYU-Texas game

“CLASSLESS, CLASSLESS, CLASSLESS . . .”

BYU’s student section, AKA “The ROC,” chanted the word early into the second half after a Texas player decided to let the ball roll past him after a made bucket rather than toss it to a BYU player. BYU didn’t trail the whole second half and bullied its way to a 84-72 win over the Longhorns Saturday afternoon.

The bigger story however, happened front and center of the ROC section — right by the Texas bench. Several BYU students had painted white shirts with big, royal blue letters: “HORNS DOWN.”

“We thought it would be a good way to be competitive and show our support for BYU,” one of the students told the Daily Universe.

It’s no secret that this phrase has become a popular source of banter for many who face the Longhorns. Combine it with flipping over the iconic Texas “Hook ‘Em” hand sign and you’ve got all you need to talk a little trash to a Longhorn fan.

Texas Head Coach Rodney Terry called UCF’s actions “classless” after the Knights upset the Longhorns in Austin and threw up the horns down as they walked through the handshake line when the game ended just a couple weeks ago. It made national news and was still a story heading into Saturday’s game.

According to the students, they had waited “15-16 hours” to get in the front row of the ROC, and they wanted to make the most of it. They knew that there would be signs, posters, and a lot of smack talk so they decided to do their own thing in front of a sellout crowd and an ESPN2 national audience.

Once they got their coveted front row seats and pregame had started the students put on their newly painted apparel. Reportedly, the students got grins, thumbs up, and even cheers from nearby students and Marriott Center workers. According to the students they also got the support from members of the ROC board, seated nearby.

“We got support from almost everyone that interacted with us,” said one of the students. “Cosmo even took a picture with us and was doing horns down.”

Even Longhorn fans, some sitting merely 20 feet away, waved and gave thumbs up to the students. Some even asked to take a picture.

These students weren’t the only ones who leaned into the cliche Texas taunts. There were signs that read “Is that a spray tan or your school colors?” and “Call me classless,” as well as chants of “S-E-C” in the final minutes when BYU had put the game away. It was a display of the student’s most creative jabs.

During the first media timeout of the game, the students wearing the “Horns Down” shirts were approached by senior BYU athletic administrators. According to students, they were very firm in their message to them.

“We [could] either leave the student section, or take the shirts off,” said a student.

Despite initial reports, no media was involved in the interaction. When asked for the reasoning, administration told the students that, “That is not who we are” and “That is not how we support our team.”

The students posted no argument and complied right away, either putting a shirt over the one they were wearing or taking it off with another shirt already underneath.

BYU athletic administrators telling the students to change their shirts

“We didn’t mean to cause harm,” said one of the students. “We didn’t mean to offend anybody; we just thought it would be friendly banter.”

The students stayed in their front row seats and cheered on their Cougars for the remainder of the game. They haven’t heard anything from administration since.

After the game, coach Mark Pope took time at the end of the press conference to briefly address the situation.

“From the ROC and from our players and from our student body, that’s just not us,” Pope said. “It was just a miscalculation by a couple of eager kids.”

When asked about the interaction, BYU’s athletic department echoed what Pope had to say: “BYU Athletics administration made the decision in an effort to display good sportsmanship.”

BYU athletics also confirmed that the administration acted unprompted from any Texas representative. No one from the Longhorns program asked or even mentioned the shirts. 

“Great environment today. Great atmosphere,” said Terry. “BYU fans came in and really supported their team really well, and got behind their guys.”

Chase is the sports editor at the Daily Universe. Follow him on X: @Chase_rogers0

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