PROVO, Utah, Jan. 6, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Brigham Young University has announced it will not be playing the 2016/2017 men’s basketball game against the University of Utah.
Reasons and reactions were revealed Wednesday in a series of statements.
A BYU statement released Wednesday afternoon states:
“The BYU athletic department announced today a change to the 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule. University of Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has informed BYU coach Dave Rose that Utah will not play the 2016 contracted men’s basketball game in the Marriott Center.
“‘I disagree with the decision,'” Rose said in the statement. “‘I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.’
“BYU is moving forward with replacing Utah on its 2016-17 schedule.”
Utes coach Krystkowiak’s statement said:
“The events that have occurred in our recent games with BYU led me to ask (athletics director) Dr. Chris Hill several weeks ago if we could take a cooling off period and put the rivalry on hold. The level of emotions has escalated to the point where there is the potential for serious injury. Chris said he would support me in canceling next year’s scheduled game against BYU. I called and let Coach Rose know our intentions a few days after our game (on Dec. 2).”
Utes athletics director Chris Hill statement said:
“Coach Krystkowiak came to me last month and expressed a deep concern about the incidents that have occurred in recent years during our games with BYU. In the interests of our student-athlete welfare, he requested we cancel the BYU series until further notice. Given his reasons, I agreed to cancel next year’s game. We will revisit resuming the rivalry at some point in the future.”
The series between BYU and Utah dates back to 1909, with the BYU Cougars leading 129 wins to 128. The only year the series took a break was 1944, when college basketball seasons were cut short due to World War II.
According to the NCAA record book, the rivalry is tied for the seventh longest in college basketball history.
Greg Hughes, Utah’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, had some strong words to share concerning the Utes’ decision to cancel the 2016 basketball game against the rival Cougars.
To see Hughes blast the controversial decision, click here.