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BYU To Honor Wyoming’s ‘Black 14’ At Football Game

Sep 24, 2022, 8:52 AM | Updated: 8:08 pm
BYU/Wyoming, Black 14...
Members of Wyoming's Black 14 in 1969. Two of the men will be in attendance in Provo for the 2022 BYU/Wyoming game. (Photo courtesy of Black14.net)
(Photo courtesy of Black14.net)

PROVO, Utah – Tonight’s BYU/Wyoming football game will feature a special moment in the pregame.

BYU will honor the Black 14 as “Y Lighters” for tonight’s matchup. Throughout the week, Mel Hamilton and John Griffin, two members from the Black 14, have been on BYU’s campus for this week’s matchup. They are also in Provo for BYU’s School of Communications, debuting a student-produced documentary film that tells the story of the Black 14.

Tonight will be the first time the two men have been on BYU’s field in over 50 years.

In 1969, BYU and Wyoming squared off for a football game in Laramie. Wyoming was an undefeated team and among the best squads in the country. Students at Wyoming used the game as an opportunity to protest a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints policy that didn’t allow Black men to hold the priesthood.

Fourteen Black Wyoming football players wanted to show their support to fellow students by wearing black armbands on their uniforms. But, instead of being allowed to wear those armbands, Wyoming coach Lloyd Eaton kicked all 14 players off the team.

Wyoming still defeated BYU, 40-7 in that game. But the impact of Wyoming’s Black 14 went beyond the playing fields.

The following season, BYU football made it a point of emphasis to recruit minority athletes. As a result, BYU coach Tommy Hudspeth signed BYU’s first black football player, Ron Knight, the following year.

In 1978, the revelation of the priesthood ended the ban on Black men holding the priesthood in the Church.

Three years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the game, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members of the Black 14 had come together to provide food to insecure communities. The two groups have provided truckloads of food for less fortunate people.

No. 19 BYU vs. Wyoming

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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