Flashback Friday: Remember when a BYU fan and Utah cheerleader got in a fist fight?
Football games between BYU and the University of Utah are always intense. But things got wilder than normal in 1999
Note: This story is part of Deseret News sports team’s Flashback Friday series, which revisits memorable moments involving Utah teams.
Football games between BYU and the University of Utah are always intense. But, in November 1999, the rivalry between the two schools turned violent when a BYU fan and Utah cheerleader got into a fist fight.
The incident started when the fan, Brandon Perry, jumped from the stands onto the field in Provo to chase down cheerleader William Priddis.
“The cheerleader ... was carrying a large red and white flag when he was tackled from behind after a touchdown in the second half of Utah’s victory. Priddis repeatedly punched the fan, who was detained for the remainder of the game,” the Deseret News reported at the time.
The article noted that then-BYU athletic director Val Hale played a minor role in the incident: He had a somewhat heated conversation with folks on the Utah sideline, asking the cheerleaders to keep their distance from BYU fans.
“I thought we were going to have a riot on our hands,” Hale told the Deseret News on the Monday after the game.
In the aftermath of the incident, BYU police launched an investigation. Among other things, they considered whether Priddis had gone too far.
“Whether the response to (the fan’s presence on the field) was appropriate or went beyond will be left up to the courts,” said BYU police lieutenant Greg Barber in 1999.
In the end, Priddis did not face charges for his role in the fight. The BYU fan, Perry, didn’t either, although he was banned from the BYU campus. The Deseret News reported that the ban wouldn’t affect Perry’s ability to go to the Missionary Training Center. (He was reportedly set to start his mission just days after the on-field fight.)
In 2010, Priddis caught up with the Deseret News during a deployment in Afghanistan. He said then that people who remember the fight are often surprised to learn of his military service and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Something that seems to surprise most people is that I’m not some degenerate monster,” he said.
Priddis also noted that his Army buddies loved to tease him about his cheerleading days.
“They think it’s hilarious. Since it’s all over the Internet ... I still get asked about it all the time,” he said.