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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Young urges U to ‘stay classy’

By Trent Lowe, Staff Writer

“Hey ref! Get off your knees, ’cause you’re…”

No more. Let’s stay classy, Utah.

U President Michael Young is sending that message through advertisements and posters distributed across campus in an effort to promote good sportsmanship both on and off the field.

The posters, with the slogan “Let’s Stay Classy, Utah” emblazoned over images of U fans and mascot, Swoop, are the brainchild of Young and other senior administrators at the U.

“We wanted our community to have good sportsmanship,” said Jerry Basford, associate vice president of student affairs at the U.

The Sportsmanship Committee, composed of members of the U community, pitched the idea to increase sportsmanship at the athletic events held on campus in response to the increased attention being directed at the U.

“We’ve always had good athletics on campus. We’ve had programs that have received national attention, and we believe that we are getting more and more of it, so let’s just continue,” Basford said. “And when the camera scans the crowd, it’ll see fans that know how to act.”

Administrators said that the ads aren’t a result of any one event, but rather a push to increase cordiality in all aspects of campus, academically as well as athletically.

“We want it to be a part of who we are,” Young said. “We want our students to leave here with the sense that you can have intense athletic rivalries but still remain within the rules.”

With the U on the heels of what most consider the biggest game of the season, Saturday’s game against Brigham Young University, fans are being asked to be on their best behavior for the contest. The game is being regarded by many as the most important in the history of the rivalry, with Utah’s prospects of a Bowl Championship Series bid and BYU’s determination to squash any such aspiration.

As a result, the marketing push of “Let’s Stay Classy, Utah” has picked up speed in the weeks leading up to the rivalry game.

“The BYU game is as intense a rivalry as there is, so it’s a good place to emphasize it,” Young said. “We want our fans to take opposing fans in as guests. We hope that they leave disappointed at the score, but we still hope that they had a

good experience.”

Part of Young’s rivalry game outreach has involved requesting that certain student groups make an effort to welcome opposing fans to the stadium to make them feel comfortable and welcome. The administration asked members of the MUSS, various fraternities and sororities and other campus organizations to participate in the welcoming, but most have declined the offer.

“It’s just to be cordial to them and to say, “Hey, good luck today.’ We’re not proposing that we shake their hands, but to still be supportive,” Basford said. “We want them to feel welcome on our campus, and then we’ll beat them on the field.”

Jonathan Bowen, a member of the football MUSS board, said he believes they should be welcoming their own fans to the stadium, not the opposing fans.

“I believe in good sportsmanship, but I don’t believe that a little jarring here and there is necessarily bad,” Bowen said.

The administration is hoping the ads will prompt fans to become more conscientious about their cheering and that it will continue on through the years.

Basford summed up the sentiment behind the campaign by once again stressing hospitality.

“When we have people from other schools come onto campus, treat them as you would want to be treated if you went to their campus,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s an athletic event or another event on campus, we want to welcome them to the U.”

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Tyler Cobb

A Utah fan gives the SDSU players the hand gesture, Bras d?honneur, before kickoff Saturday. The Sportsmanship Committee is encouraging Utah fans to keep stay classy during games.

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