BYU cougar statue vandalized ahead of rivalry game

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Josh Ellis
BYU maintenance workers clean off the cougar statue Saturday morning before the rivalry game against Utah. The statue was vandalized overnight. (Josh Ellis)

The cougar statue outside BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium was vandalized Friday night before today’s rivalry game against Utah.

Several copies of a block “U” and other lettering in red paint, plus painted tears and a mustache, covered the side of the statue visible from the street. Maintenance crews cleaned the paint off Saturday morning, long before crowds would begin arriving for the game Saturday evening.

A tip led University Police to four individuals who admitted tagging the statue. They were cited with criminal mischief and banned from the BYU campus, according to KSL.com.

Painting the statue is an old prank. In the past, BYU has covered the statue, along with the university signs on Canyon Road and the Brigham Young statue behind the Abraham O. Smoot Administration Building, with plastic to prevent vandalism.

This year, however, the statues were not covered.

Both schools suffered various forms of vandalism in the 1980s and 1990s, leading to the common sight of plastic around campus during rivalry week.

The last major act of vandalism in the rivalry came in 2004 when members of Utah’s baseball team painted the Y on the mountain red.