Had a conversation with Utah athletic director Chris Hill yesterday about the end of the Utah-BYU game in which Utah fans rushed the field, leading to a penalty that gave BYU another chance to tie the game.
Hill isn’t too keen on preventing fans from rushing the field, believing the exuberance is one of the great elements of college football. However, he did say he would look into the situation out of safety concerns.
You can read more of his comments in this article, in which he says he isn’t in charge of “random acts of stupidity” by fans.
Personally I like and I don’t like Hill’s stance. In an age when so many things are happening to take the fun out of sports as more and more people don’t like to state their opinions out of fear of rocking the boat or raising the ire of an opponent, I like that Hill is willing to go out on a limb and say he wants to keep some of the fun spirit of college football present.
However, I can see out of safety concerns too why fans should be kept off the field, particularly at the end of rivalry games where emotions are high. More and more youtube videos are coming out of fans confronting players and coaches after the game. It’s a wonder a huge brawl didn’t start.
Kudos to players and coaches from both sides for keeping themselves in check and limiting their emotions to a few colorful words.
Asked about the situation yesterday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said his team is told to ignore fans from other schools when the Utes are on the road, but he hasn’t addressed what to do when fans get on the field because it rarely happens.
However, even one brawl is too many.
If Utah fans are going to rush the field, which they seem inclined to do maybe more than any other football program in the country, then perhaps something needs to be done in which the players, at least from the visiting side, are escorted off the field before Utah fans storm the turf.
Celebrations should be about enjoying the moment with your own team after all and not harassing the opponents.
- Lya Wodraska