An Experience Like No Other, The Mighty Utah Student Section


The University of Utah student section, The Muss, cheers during a 3rd down during an NCAA Football game vs. The University of Southern California at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


As a student at the University of Utah, you are provided with a unique opportunity to be a part of one of the greatest college sports organizations in the country. The Mighty Utah Student Section awaits any student whose blood bleeds red and is anxious to support their Utes on the field of battle. But before you join this rambunctious crew, it’s important to know just exactly what it means to be a member of the MUSS.


The Foundation of the MUSS

Before it was mighty, the Utah Student section was formally known as the UFFC or Utah Football Fan Club. Unfortunately, this fan club was not very popular as it struggled to attract students in support of the athletic teams. Back in 2001, the average student attendance at a home football game was only 500 students, and even head coach, Kyle Whittingham, knew there was a problem.

“When I came to Utah as an assistant in 1994, the student section consisted of four students and a dog. And the dog was a stray,” Whittingham said to AtTheU.

With participation so poor, the Alumni Association and Department of Athletics sprang into action in order to create something students would be proud of and desire to join. Thus, the MUSS was born. Since its foundation in 2003, it has grown to over 7,000 members. It has even evolved into one of the most respected student sections in the nation, being named the fourth-best student section by the NCAA back in 2014.


What Makes the Student Section Mighty

To be named the fourth-best student section in the country, you’ve got to set yourself apart. As defined by the University of Utah magazine, “Muss is a noun that means a state of disorder; as an acronym at the U, it has come to mean Mighty Utah Student Section.”

The MUSS truly is a state of disorder and that is exactly what the organization’s President-Elect, Avery Abelhouzen, would want you to know.

“We have a lot of different traditions that make the MUSS special,” Abelhouzen said. “Our most famous is probably the 3rd Down jump. When the opposing offense is on 3rd Down, our goal is to get loud and try to cause a false start. When we cause a false start, we hang a 5 (for 5 yards) at the front of the MUSS to keep track of how many false starts we caused throughout the game. The MUSS also has a Red Robin catered tailgate before every game.”

The cheerleaders are also major contributors as they lead the MUSS in their deafening cheers heard throughout the Wasatch. Recent graduate, Jared Heldt, was a member of the squad for five years and even became one of the captains.

“Being a cheerleader, I was down on the field in front of the MUSS so I got the full effect of just how loud the whole student section could be,” Heldt said. “One of my favorite memories was from this last season when Utah Football was playing Washington in Seattle. I remember when Utah would have big plays, the whole stadium would quiet down except for the MUSS — who took the MUSS Bus up to Seattle. Their craziness helped maintain the same noise, passion, and support for the team as if the game were played in Rice-Eccles Stadium.”


Why You Should Join the MUSS

As a member of the MUSS, you are provided a very unique opportunity to cheer for one of the top schools in the Pac-12. From touchdown passes at Rice Eccles to incredible beam performances at the Huntsman Center, The MUSS provides an opportunity to cheer Utah to victory with your fellow classmates.

“Students being active members of the MUSS and supporting our teams are what keep the Mighty Utah Student Section one of the strongest in the nation,” Abelhouzen said.  “Engaging with us on social media, especially Instagram and Twitter, is also a really great way to get involved and connect with other people in the MUSS. The MUSS is a community striving to be as inclusive and impactful as possible. Attending sporting events on campus is a great way to enrich your college experience and create amazing memories.”

Utah Athletics wouldn’t be what they are without the support of the MUSS. In fact, the football team wears “The MUSS” stickers on the back of every helmet with pride as they face opponents. So during your time at the U, make sure to sign up for a MUSS Premium pass, dress all in red and scream your heart out at for your Utes. Then you can truly sing, A Utah Fan am I!


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