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Santos Gets Apology for Lack of Ceremony : BYU Belatedly Presents Game Ball to Record-Setting Quarterback

November 11, 1987|CURT HOLBREICH | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — A Brigham Young University official apologized to San Diego State quarterback Todd Santos here Tuesday for the school's failure to recognize him after he became the most prolific passer in major college history during a game Saturday in Provo, Utah.

John B. Stohlton, BYU executive vice president, appeared at a midday news conference at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium and later met with Santos and Aztec Coach Denny Stolz at SDSU to express the school's regret and to present Santos with a game ball from the Aztecs' 38-21 loss.

"Our failure to honor Todd is, frankly, an embarrassment to us," Stohlton said.

BYU athletic department officials have said they decided before the game that they would not interrupt play or make a public address announcement if Santos broke the record for career passing yardage (10,623 yards) held by Kevin Sweeney of Fresno State. Santos broke the record with 1:40 left to play. He finished the game with a total of 10,661 career yards.

"It would have been special had the game been stopped," Santos said. "But it showed a lot of class that they came out (here)."

Glen Tuckett, BYU athletic director, said from his office in Provo that the coaching staff was concerned that stopping the game might influence the outcome. In a similar incident last season, a game at BYU was stopped and a ball was presented to running back Steve Bartalo of Colorado State after he broke the Western Athletic Conference career rushing record. Brigham Young was leading at the time but went on to lose, 24-20.

"I don't think it had a thing to do with the turning point in the ballgame," Colorado State Coach Leon Fuller said in a conference call Tuesday. "We certainly didn't ask them to (stop the game). They did it on their own. If they asked me a year ago, I would have not wanted them to do that. As a coach, I can see stopping a game for something like that is not the best thing to do in the continuity of the game, but I think the record deserves the recognition and it should be done after the game."

Tuckett said BYU's assistant athletic director, Pete Witbeck, told SDSU officials in a conversation before the game that BYU would be willing to honor Santos after the game but that the offer was declined. John Rosenthal, SDSU sports information director, and his assistant, Dave Kuhn, who were present, said Tuesday that no such offer was made.

Tuckett said he had not said anything about the offer previously because he did not want to debate the issue publicly.

"We don't want to get in a Ping-Pong match over this," Tuckett said. "We have accepted our responsibility in this and have apologized. We expect this will be the end of it."

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