Forty years ago, the fortunes of the BYU and Wyoming football programs were reversed from today. The Cowboys were a nationally ranked team, and just two years earlier they had finished sixth in the final Associated Press poll. By contrast, BYU didn’t make its first appearance in the Top 25 until 1974.
When the two teams met in October 1969, Wyoming was the clear favorite on the field. But this would-be routine game between conference foes came to take on far greater meaning.
Racial tensions came to a head when a controversial protest against BYU’s football team caused the dismissal of 14 Wyoming players. The players are known to history as the “Black 14,” and Sunday marked the 40-year anniversary of the game that brought the LDS church’s policy on blacks and the priesthood into a national spotlight.