BYU cancels Cougar Kickoff fan event over bad air quality

Aug 17, 2021, 5:00 AM
FILE PHOTO [BYU head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates with fans on the field after defeating Southern California on an interception in overtime of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/George Frey)]
(AP Photo/George Frey)

PROVO — The 16th annual Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougar Kickoff fan event scheduled for Tuesday evening has been canceled due to poor air quality, the school announced Monday.

Cougar Kickoff is normally an opportunity for BYU sports fans to mingle with student-athletes from several of the school’s sports programs before the start of the fall competition season, including football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

The school announced the cancelation is out of an abundance of caution to keep fans and its student-athletes safe. A BYU insider said this is an issue the university takes seriously. 

“The BYU football team has been practicing in the indoor practice facility when the air conditions have become so severe,” said Mitch Harper, co-host of Cougar Sports Saturday on KSL Newsradio. “They’re taking it inside and making sure that these student-athletes are healthy, and that their health is at the forefront and a priority for them each and every single day.”

Thousands of BYU fans look forward to Cougar Kickoff each year

“It’d be a chance to get those autographs from your favorite BYU athletes. It was definitely something BYU fans would come out in large numbers to support their team,” Harper said. 

Harper explained this event started in the Bronco Mendenhall era of BYU football. Not only is it something fans look forward to, the players and coaches also enjoyed it. 

“It would always become an annual event to hear what Bronco Mendenhall thought of his team, and Kalani Sitake did similar things. You’d see some dancing from the players. Just kind of a fun, laidback event,” Harper said. 

Fans will have another chance to meet the players 

Ahead of the season opener against the Arizona Wildcats in Las Vegas, Harper said BYU is planning a “Fan Fest.” It will happen from 6-8 p.m. PT at Craig Ranch Regional Park on September 3. 


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BYU cancels Cougar Kickoff fan event over bad air quality