Utah football: Athletic director to review Utah's policy of allowing fans onto field
Utah athletic director Chris Hill doesn't like the idea of preventing fans from rushing the field to celebrate wins, but Saturday's events after the Utah-BYU game have him rethinking his policy.
Hill said he would review the way Utah controls its crowd, or rather doesn't control it, at the end of games.
"It's a tough thing," he said. "Part of the college charm is having fans on the field."
Utah fans have long made a habit of taking to the field after big wins, but Saturday's late-game events marked the first time in which a celebration might have affected the outcome of the game.
The Utes were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct when fans rushed the field after Star Lotulelei blocked BYU's 51-yard field goal attempt. Officials, who were from the Big 12 Conference, ruled the play was still live since the ball was recovered by BYU's J.D. Falslev.
The penalty advanced the Cougars to Utah's 19-yard line, where a 36-yard field goal attempt by BYU hit the left upright.
"By no means will we not take it seriously and we'll delve into this and find out if what we are doing is the right thing," Hill said. "I've seen games from where teams are putting up a fence to tasering. There is a scale where you can be extreme and end up like a police state."
Hill said the safety of the fans is his highest priority, but added the school wasn't "in charge of random acts of stupidity," by fans.
The Pac-12 does not have a policy on fans rushing the field.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the ending was bizarre, and he wouldn't be opposed to adopting a policy regarding fans' access to the field.
"It would not be a bad idea if we had some sort of conference or national rule on how to deal with that," Whittingham said.
Kudos for Utes
Utah punter Tom Hackett was named a Pac-12 Player of the Week after the freshman placed three punts inside the 10-yard line against BYU.
The last came with 1:11 remaining when his 30-yard punt was downed at the Cougars' 8-yard line.
While Hackett earned league honors, Utah offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi, who is slated to start ahead of Percy Taumoelau at right tackle this week after earning his first start against BYU, and defensive lineman Lotulelei drew praise from Whittingham.
Lotulelei had seven tackles, batted down two passes, forced a fumble and blocked a field goal against BYU.
"Star played with a determination and tenacity rarely seen in defensive linemen," Whittingham said.
Whittingham no longer gives injury reports, but said the Utes should have running back John White and safety Eric Rowe back on the field for the ASU game in addition to Brian Blechen. Blechen, who missed the first three games while serving a suspension for breaking team rules, is slotted to start at strong safety ahead of Quade Chappuis, who has been filling in for Blechen.