Security expecting rowdy rivalry crowd

By Michael McFall, Staff Writer

U Police Chief Scott Folsom joked that he secretly cheers for BYU to win.

The rioting that might erupt on his campus if thousands of overexcited fans, some of them drunk, go haywire, is why security will stick around for the entire duration of the game, instead of a few of them being let go once the game is well underway.

The fans can get a little crazy out there, said Sgt. Arb Nordgran.

The U Police normally sends a few officers to a game to provide security with the other hired officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. However, the annual rivalry game between the U and Brigham Young University is a special occasion. There will be increased security at the game, although Folsom declined to comment on how many additional campus police officers would be stationed.

Folsom said he expects this game to be especially rowdy because of the U’s undefeated record. When rival teams meet up with the wind of a great season in their sails, it makes for much more excitement.

At the Fiesta Bowl in 2005, Utah fans rushed the field despite layers of chain-link fences. When a flood of excited fans rushed the field after this year’s game between the U and Oregon State, several people wound up getting hurt, Nordgran said.

During the U’s game against Texas Christian University, the stadium’s security command station received 59 calls from concerned fans about drunks getting out of hand, said Mark Burk, events director for Rice-Eccles Stadium. Security responds to an average of 20 to 30 drunks in the middle of the season, but the TCU game’s numbers better resembled the first or last game, he said.

However, Folsom expects a relatively calmer crowd at the rivalry game, as far as alcohol is concerned. Much of the crowd will be BYU students, who aren’t known to consume alcohol at games as much as other students, he said.

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