Utah State saw its 33-game home winning streak snapped on Wednesday in a loss to Denver. But perhaps more stunningly, for a few minutes during the game, the Aggies lost the outspoken support of their rambunctious student section.
According to The Herald Journal, Utah State students remained silent during the first three minutes of the game in protest of an usher had told them before the game that cursing and pointing at opposing players was not allowed.
Originally, the students thought of the three minutes of silence as a running joke, but after at least one member of the event staff reportedly threatened to kick them out of the Spectrum and take away student IDs for cursing or pointing, they decided to do it.
"It wasn't really a protest. It wasn't us being crybabies or pouting; it was us getting the message across that you are censoring the craziest student section in the nation, and this is what will happen if you keep censoring us -- just silence," said USU student Charley Riddle, who wrote on a whiteboard at the start of Wednesday's game "No cheering for first 3 mins" and held it up for the thousands of students to read.
USU basketball players felt the fans actions on Wednesday.
"Not having our fans here kind of hurt us," said USU guard Brockeith Pane, who finished with 12 points in the 67-54 loss. "I know it hurt me."
Utah State students were already on edge after university president Stan Albrecht and athletic director Scott Barnes wrote a letter expressing their disappointment after "crude language, outright vulgarity and deeply personal insults were hurled at BYU forward Brandon Davies in the Aggies' season-opening win.
But now it's the administration that is calling the usher's warnings a miscommunication, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Barnes emphasized that the administration did not intentionally place any of the restrictions on the student body that sparked the brief protest.
"We have not changed any policies," Barnes said. "Unfortunately, one of the ushers went to the students and created standards we had no idea about. We didn't ask that individual to tell them that."
"We feel like we have the best student fan base in America," Barnes said. "We wanted to make sure that a few individuals that have crossed the line stayed in bounds. We want to take care of the bad actors. But that doesn't mean making wholesale changes."