Nebraska's Callahan denies throat-slash gesture

Updated: October 31, 2005, 8:16 PM ET
Associated Press

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said Monday that he didn't make a throat-slashing gesture toward an official after Oklahoma scored a touchdown Saturday.

Callahan appeared livid after Kejuan Jones' 17-yard touchdown run that gave the Sooners a 31-17 lead in the fourth quarter. OU won 31-24.

Callahan engaged in an animated discussion with referee Steve Usechek after the touchdown. It appeared a holding penalty against Oklahoma went uncalled on the play.

Videotape showed Callahan raising his right arm, index finger extended, and making a motion from left to right across his throat.

Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg reviewed the video Monday, league spokesman Bob Burda said.

And the Big 12 asked Nebraska to investigate the incident and file a report with the conference, university officials said.

"I have talked with Coach Callahan and I have received a request from the Big 12 Conference to review this incident," Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson said. "Since I have received this request I will reserve all comment until I have responded back to the conference office."

Burda said Nebraska's report should include any disciplinary action taken against the coach. The commissioner would have the option of accepting the disciplinary measure or modifying it, Burda said.

Callahan initially did not know what a reporter was asking about when the topic came up on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference.

"What do you mean? What are you talking about?" Callahan said.

Upon hearing the question again, Callahan said, "Oh, no. No. I was frustrated and emotional. There was no malicious intent toward anyone or any referee."

Callahan declined to comment on whether he intended the slashing motion to be a demonstration of how cornerback Cortney Grixby was held on the play.

"Someone is making a big deal out of something that's nothing," Callahan said. "I really don't know what you're talking about."

Callahan, as he did Saturday, declined to comment on officiating.

In 2004 the NCAA Football Rules Committee made the throat-slashing gesture a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL outlawed the gesture in 1999, making it a 15-yard penalty and a $2,500 fine.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press