Over the last several months, former Brigham Young Cougars football player Vai Sikahema has written and done some things that has caught BYU fans off guard. Some of Sikahema’s curious deeds have involved BYU’s arch rival Utah Utes, which has raised some questions regarding his loyalties to BYU. With it being rivalry week, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL asked the BYU Hall of Famer point blank: Are you still a BYU guy?
“I’m always going to be a BYU guy,” Sikahema immediately responded. “My history at BYU cannot be erased. I am a part of that program.”
He also pointed out that he has extended family members playing for the BYU football team. As for his direct family he proudly reported, “I have three kids at BYU. I got a fourth who will probably be there next year. I wouldn’t want them anywhere but BYU.”
Sikahema has remained connected with BYU and the football program, even though over 25 years have passed since his playing days. Each year, Sikahema is contacted by several people interested in attending BYU. He extols the virtues of BYU and prepares them to deal with challenges that may arise.
Despite living across the country in Philadelphia, he chose to finish his degree at BYU. In 2002, he finally graduated as a Cougar.
Following the 2008 football season, Sikahema emceed a banquet honoring the 2008 football team. Within the last year, he appeared on the Marriott School of Management’s production Morning Market Call praising BYU football for its move to independence.
The conflict comes in by Sikahema's involvement with the Utes, which is driven by relationships forged long ago. Sikahema was friends with the Utah head coach and defensive coordinator several years before either of them were associated with BYU's arch rival. He also has extended family members playing for the Utah football team.
After speaking with Sikahema, here is how I understand the situation. He has ties to people at Utah. He is not developing ties with the school. When those people are no longer there, he will cease to be involved with Utah.
Sikahema has been placed in a difficult situation. Rather than severe long time friendships and cut family ties, Sikahema has chosen to continue these relationships.
I know I have done the same. I had childhood friends and mission buddies who chose to attend Utah, but I didn't turn my back on our friendship over that decision. We could remain friends without compromising my loyalty to BYU.
Sikahema has not compromised his loyalty, either. Vai is a BYU guy.
Read a great story in the Deseret News about how Sikahema helped coordinate the attendance of Tongan Dignitaries at the BYU-Utah game September 17, 2011, and insisted they wear blue.
The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org