A Streaker Dressed As A Ref Sparked One Of The Most Chaotic Sequences In College Football History

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On October 20, 2011, UCLA and Arizona faced off in a showdown that featured one of the wildest moments in college football history courtesy of a fan disguised as a ref who stormed the field before a massive brawl broke out between the two sides just before halftime.

The people tasked with working security at sporting events have to be on high alert for unruly spectators who decide it’s a good idea to make their way onto the playing surface. In most cases, it’s pretty easy to figure out who doesn’t belong out there, but there are some enterprising tricksters who’ve dreamed up ways to infiltrate games.

That includes Jacen Lankow, who was attending the University of Arizona as a graduate student when he hatched a plan to make his way onto the field in the middle of the team’s game against the Bruins with the help of the referee outfit he assembled by visiting a few thrift stores before heading into the stadium with the makeshift uniform hidden under another layer of clothes.

Now, a story involving a fan dressed as a ref who successfully used that ruse to sneak onto the field in the middle of a nationally televised game would be crazy enough on its own, but it firmly earned a place in college football history thanks to what transpired shortly after he pulled off the stunt.

How a fan dressed as a ref inadvertently sparked a massive brawl at a college football game between UCLA and Arizona

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It would be a stretch to suggest Lankow was directly responsible for what unfolded after he orchestrated his massive plan, but he was undoubtedly the spark that caused a powder keg that was already on the verge of going off to erupt.

To say the first half was a one-sided affair would be a bit of an understatement.

On the first drive of the game, Arizona QB Nick Foles opened the scoring for the home team with a touchdown pass and his side eventually pulled out to a 14-0 lead. UCLA was able to answer with a TD of its own, but the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points by the time the second quarter was on the verge of coming to an end.

The Bruins had the chance to try one last play with four seconds to go until halftime when Lankow (who’d managed to make it down to the sidelines by that point) used the whistle he’d brought with him to blow the play dead before running out onto the gridiron to try to grab the football that had already been picked up by an actual official.

It didn’t take long for the real refs to spot the imposter in their midst, and Lunkow quickly sprinted away while shedding his outfit to reveal the Speedo he was wearing underneath.

At first, it looked like there would be a brief break in the action as security attempted to track him down. However, while most people were focusing on Lunkow as he attempted to evade the security team that was tracking him down, some undoubtedly frustrated UCLA players started butting heads with a group of Wildcats before a shoving match broke out.

From there, things escalated very quickly. In a matter of seconds, a massive brawl broke out as players and coaches from both sidelines poured onto the field to both contribute to the melee and try to restore order, and it took a solid minute for cooler heads to prevail.

Based on the lopsided nature of the game, there’s a chance tempers would’ve flared at some point even if a fake ref hadn’t suddenly appeared. With that said, both sides would’ve almost undoubtedly headed to the locker room without incident following what would’ve been the last play of the half if it wasn’t for the unexpected disturbance.

Following the game (which Arizona won by a score of 48-12), a total of ten players from both sides were suspended for their actions in the fracas, while Lunkow spent a night in jail and agreed to serve four hours of community service to atone for the stunt.