PROVO — After a standout 11-1 season and top-15 national ranking, BYU football will return to the 2021 season this fall when it opens Sept. 4 against Arizona in Las Vegas.
A week later, head coach Kalani Sitake will lead the Cougars into the home opener against rival Utah.
And they'll be joined by 65,000 of their closest friends (and probably more than a few foes).
BYU will open LaVell Edwards Stadium to full capacity, the Cougars announced Friday morning after a season of no or reduced-capacity stands in Provo.
"We are really excited to welcome back Cougar Nation into LaVell Edwards Stadium this fall," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement from the school. "I know our football team is looking forward to a great schedule this season. We are all extremely excited to be able to see the return of the unmatched atmosphere generated by BYU fans in LaVell Edwards Stadium."
The university also plans to return to full pregame and postgame activities, including tailgating, for the 2021 season. In addition to the rival Utes, who canceled last season's game when the Pac-12 initially opted to cancel its season (before playing a conference-only schedule), BYU will also host Arizona State on Sept. 18, South Florida on Sept. 25, Boise State on Oct. 9, Virginia on Oct. 30 and FCS Idaho State on Nov. 6.
Good news Cougar Nation … 👀 pic.twitter.com/CCZJLflGQr— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) May 21, 2021
Stadium capacity remains contingent on COVID-19 cases staying at a low rate in the state of Utah and Utah County, as well as vaccination rates. With these variables, plans are subject to change, and will be coordinated by local and state health officials.
Season ticket renewals are currently ongoing for existing ticket holders with BYU. Once those renewals are finished, new season tickets will become available in July via byutickets.com. Fans can immediately reserve their place to purchase new season tickets on the ticketing website, the school says, with individual game tickets expected to go on sale in July, as well.
LaVell Edwards Stadium joins a growing list of reopening sports venues on the Wasatch Front. The Utah Jazz recently expanded capacity to 13,000 for the upcoming NBA playoffs, which start Sunday against the winner of Golden State and Memphis, and the Salt Lake Bees will begin allowing a full capacity of fans at Smith's Ballpark beginning with the May 27 series against the Round Rock Express.
Real Salt Lake maintains a roughly half-full stadium policy at Rio Tinto Stadium, but recently announced that fans will no longer be required to wear a mask or eat in designated eating sections during the Major League Soccer season. Masks are still strongly encouraged, the team said.