2 citations issued at BYU-University of Utah football game

BYU officers received reports of a man accosting 2 people

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 1 2009 12:26 a.m. MST

Jamie Whittingham, wife of Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, at left, can be seen being grabbed by the arm during a post-game scuffle. BYU police say 20,000 fans stormed the field after BYU's last-play overtime victory over Utah Saturday in Provo. Because of the confusion, the circumstances surrounding these photos are unknown.

Douglas C. Pizac, US Presswire

PROVO — Despite the wild and rowdy nature of Saturday's rivalry game between BYU and Utah, the event was fairly calm — from a police perspective.

BYU officers issued only two citations, but received reports that a man accosted two different people taking pictures during the post-game celebration. Police have not confirmed the man's identity, said BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon.

Multiple reports also indicate that Jamie Whittingham, wife of University of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, suffered a cut lip during a post-game sideline scuffle.

BYU police said nearly 20,000 fans streamed onto the field to celebrate BYU's last-play overtime victory. Photographs taken during the post-game festivities by US Presswire photographer Douglas Pizac show what appears to be an incident near and around Jamie Whittingham and her daughter.

Pizac said he noticed a shoving match erupt and shot several frames of the melee before it quickly subsided. Several hours later, when he learned that Jamie Whittingham had been in the vicinity of a shoving match at the game, he looked over his photos and noticed that she was in them.

Jamie Whittingham did not file a complaint with BYU Police and a U. spokeswoman said Kyle Whittingham would not comment on the matter.

"We have no response to any incidents after the game," said U. associate athletics director Liz Abel, who also said she didn't anticipate any further comment.

The first police report came from a BYU fan who said he was taking pictures of the U. players with his cell phone when a man came up and told him to stop, Lemmon said.

"He grabbed the cell phone, and a scuffle ensued," Lemmon said.

The man also acted like he was going to throw the phone into the stands, but the alleged victim told police he didn't think it actually was thrown. However, because the fan never got his phone back, he filed a theft report, Lemmon said.

The second report came from a professional photographer who told police he was taking pictures of dejected Ute players when the same man came up to him and also told him to stop, Lemmon said.

The photographer told police the man then pushed the camera into his face while he was taking a picture. However, as of Monday afternoon, the matter had been resolved and the photographer asked BYU to drop the case, which it did, Lemmon said.

U. Police Lt. Lynn Rohland said her agency hadn't received any reports or complaints after Saturday's game, either from the Whittinghams or any other attendee. Reports would need to be made to BYU police because the game was in Provo, she said.

The University of Utah "always encourages its supporters to behave respectfully toward the players, coaches, and fans at other schools," said U. spokesman Remi Barron.

In a statement sent out before Saturday's game, Dean of Students Annie Nebeker Christensen reminded fans that "sportsmanship is connected to the broader campus values and standards of behavior including civility, integrity, and responsibility. To achieve these goals, we request that our students treat opponents, fellow fans, and coaches with respect and courtesy.

Provo police officers helped with post-game traffic only, and Capt. Cliff Argyle said Provo didn't receive any complaints related to the game.

Each year during the big game, BYU and the U. trade officers back and forth, Lemmon said. This year there were nine U. police officers stationed near the large concentrations of Ute fans, with 25 BYU police officers patrolling the rest of the stadium, Lemmon said.

The two citations given were for public intoxication and trespassing, Lemmon said.

Contributing: Dirk Facer

e-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

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