At long last, fans will be back in the stands for sporting events at BYU this fall. It will be a glorious sight to see picturesque LaVell Edwards Stadium roaring once again when the Cougars take on arch-rival Utah in football’s home opener on Sept. 11.
Less picturesque, however, is the jumbled mess of failed color coordination throughout the crowd. The school’s colors are white and blue, which some people seem to forget when choosing an outfit for the game.
Legendary head coach LaVell Edwards, who the stadium is named after, was once heard to quip years ago that seeing the crowd in Provo was like looking at a bowl of Skittles. When even your stadium’s namesake is throwing shade, that should be a hint to take action.
The fans themselves can’t be blamed entirely here (except for the handful of those who completely disregard common sense and wear red on game day. Where’s your loyalty?). The real problem stems from the continuous internal struggle between navy blue and royal blue as BYU’s official color.
For a school where couples can go from first date to engagement over the course of a weekend, BYU’s athletic department seems to have some commitment issues with the two different shades of blue they’re courting. As a result, fans have no idea which shade to sport, leading to a Skittles situation.
Navy blue is listed as BYU’s “official” shade, but Kalani Sitake’s tenure at the helm of the football program has seen an increased usage of royal for alternate uniforms. The tide seems to be turning in favor of royal, as the 26 new possible uniform combinations BYU released in March showed 18 designs for royal and just eight for navy.
It’s progress for sure, but a firm decision needs to be made. BYU needs to fully commit to the royal.
Royal blue was the staple of BYU’s glory days of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. I personally can’t think of the 1984 National Championship, Ty Detmer’s Heisman Trophy or, well, beating Utah without picturing those majestic royal threads. It was what kids today might call a “vibe.”
BYU mixed things up in 1999 by introducing new “state of the art” navy uniforms, widely known as the “bibs”, which were loathed by fans and even outlawed by the NCAA because of the complexity of their design. Some say complexity, I say hideousness.
While the bibs were dashed from the Cougar wardrobe, navy stuck around. I’m no fashion expert, but I consider BYU’s navy uniforms an eyesore. They’re unimaginative, brash and too similar to those of rival Utah State. They look like generic youth league football jerseys. There are many things that could be said, but the bottom line is that navy just doesn’t work.
Not only are the royal uniforms absolutely classic — they’re vibrant, jazzy, and carry a certain amount of swagger. Royal blue is BYU’s own trademark earned from days of excellence. I can honestly say I feel more confident about how the Cougars will play in games when they wear royal. Maybe that says a lot more about me than the uniforms themselves, but the point is that royal blue is too brilliant to not fully utilize.
I remember a conversation I had with my group of friends as new freshmen in Helaman Halls a few years ago. Somehow the topic of BYU blue was brought up, and myself excluded, no one could determine which shade was BYU’s official color. It wasn’t a discussion of which shade looked better, it was a genuine collective inquiry to figure out which shade was actually legitimate.
As a result, the ROC student section at each game is checkered with split showings of royal and navy. It’s more awkward than the piano in the Wilkinson Student Center. The ROC typically advertises which shade students should wear beforehand, but not enough people are getting the memo.
Speaking of the student section, “the ROC” isn’t a terrible name, but it could be improved so easily. Imagine something along the lines of “the Almighty Brigham Young Student Section”, or in other words, “the ABYSS”. Don’t you think that would be just a bit more electrifying? I could go on forever on that topic, but right now the blue dilemma is more important.
Fully committing to and advertising royal as BYU’s sole official shade of blue would reduce stadium color clashing, honor BYU’s rich football tradition and just look so much better. The great Jerry Seinfeld has said sports is really just rooting for your team’s clothes to beat the clothes of an opponent. If that’s the case, BYU fans need to be cheering on royal blue as soon as possible.
— Jackson Payne