The daughter of a longtime BYU fan recently found out that upon her father’s death, she and her family were also losing their prime seats at LaVell Edwards Stadium for home football games, the ones her dad had held for 40 years.
“Not gonna lie … this one is going to hurt for a while,” she wrote in a message she shared on social media.
She — the family — was not permitted to renew the season tickets and keep them, effectively adding to the burden that death had brought by blocking the sustaining of such fond decades-long memories.
The tweet elicited many responses, most of them sympathetic to the woman’s plight and calling for BYU to change a policy that prevented the passing along of certain tickets in a kind of intergenerational transmission. Other BYU zealots absurdly ridiculed her.
Throwing the overlay of the passing of a loved one on top of that prevention caused something of an outcry. And on Friday, Jon McBride, a BYU associate athletic director, was busy in meetings and discussions about BYU’s method for handling circumstances such as the one described.
“It’s pretty stressful,” he said.
The woman who wrote the original tweet, contacted by The Tribune, said in so many words that she didn’t want to talk further about it, adding that she’s loyal to BYU and didn’t mean for her message to cause any sort of whirlwind.
And, man, didn’t McBride and other BYU officials know it.
What to do? … What to do?
On the one hand, you have the progeny of a loyal Cougar fan who jumped on the chance to secure season tickets in a sweet location way back in the day at a relatively sweet cost, establishing a family tradition of attending BYU games.
On the other, you have BYU, a school that is preparing for entry into the Big 12, looking for additional resources to support that endeavor wherever it can legitimately find them, with boosters and deep-pocketed fans who already are donating large sums of cash to the program and who are willing to donate more. They want good seats, better seats than they currently have.
Should Brother and Sister So-And-So, who supported BYU football back when the program needed what it could get, be granted those prime season tickets in perpetuity, from generation to generation, from now ‘til Kingdom Come?
And because a family member got those seats way back when, should that family and only that family have those preferred seats, disallowing other fans and their families from having the same opportunity?
In a world full of big problems, this might seem like a tiny one, but remember, we’re talking football here. Foot-freaking-ball.
And then, we’re talking BYU foot-freaking-ball, which always has some degree of religious overtones to it, overtones the program itself, the school itself, emphasizes and embraces. So, when a brother’s family — any brother’s or sister’s family — is affected by a practice or policy like this, in the name of filthy lucre, then BYU is accused by some of being hypocritical at best and uncaring and money-hungry at second-best and the arm of not a religion, rather a devilish corporate venture at worst.
What say you?
This is what BYU says (read on and we’ll reconvene at the end of five paragraphs):
“BYU Athletics and the BYU Ticket Office have had long-standing policies and practices related to the renewal of LaVell Edwards Stadium football tickets.
“The stadium donor program was created in 1962, with the construction of LaVell Edwards Stadium (Cougar Stadium at the time). With a donation then, individuals were guaranteed season tickets, in the seats they secured, for two generations. This was a great deal for Cougar fans and also a great benefit to BYU Athletics as we looked to build and expand our fan base at a time when we really needed it.
“Now, in 2023, we find ourselves in a very different situation. We have a stadium at maximum capacity, we have some of the top programs in the nation playing us in LES, we are heading into the Big 12 and we are in a completely different supply/demand situation than we were 50 years ago.
“BYU Athletics will continue to honor our contracts for stadium donor seats in LES. Outside of stadium donor tickets, other season ticket agreements do not have those same contracts associated with them, that allow for transferring tickets beyond deceased parties. This is a standard practice for many college and professional ticketing entities.
“Moving forward, we will be adjusting and transitioning our practices. We are going to work hard to take care of those who have helped us get to where we are now and with those looking to secure tickets at LaVell Edwards Stadium into the future.”
Remember, legacy fans in a situation like the one described above are not wholly booted out of the stadium, only reassigned different seats.
This is one of those cases where there are colliding truths from both directions. You can jump on whatever side you wish, but each is understandable. Families of longtime season ticket holders who lose a loved one and want to continue on with a cool tradition, and a program that has a waiting list of other fans and their families hungry for football and eager to pay considerable amounts to have prime seats.
It’s a situation a lot of football programs deal with, not just the one in Provo. It’s just that the one in Provo says a stadium-wide prayer before kickoffs and many of its fans pay tithing to the church that owns the school.
Should money, then, always win out? Well … money secured the seats in the first place. Should loyalty win the day? Well … how is that loyalty defined? Should one fan and his family be allowed to hold onto great seats yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day after 10,000 tomorrows? Well … other fans and families would like a chance to watch BYU games from a place other than the nosebleeds. And … BYU wants — needs? — more money.
What’s the answer? BYU has given its reply. What’s yours?
Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.