SMU Archives

SMU Archives Banner

History of the Pony Ears

In 1958, the SMU football team developed a symbol for team unity after a disagreement with the coaching staff. This two-finger hand sign was given the meaning of “V for Victory” which drew the attention of the crowd, who began using the V-sign while cheering. However, today’s meaning did not come about until the mid-1970s, when cheerleader, Roy Bailey, felt that SMU ought to have a hand sign to compete with the Baylor bear claws and the Texas horns. Thus, the popularity of the old sign was rekindled with a different meaning: pony ears. As the usage of the sign increased, the shape also changed to better represent the ears of Peruna, the midget pony of SMU. The stiff V-shape of the 1950s, relaxed into a curved sign to represent the floppiness of pony ears. The pony ears are used whenever the Varsity is sung and in most every SMU cheer.