Utah head basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak and Utah athletic director Chris Hill addressed the media today about Utah’s decision to cancel the Utah-BYU rivalry basketball game in the 2016-17 season.
Larry Krystkowiak Audio:
Chris Hill Audio:
Krystkowiak and Hill also released statements before the press conference, as did University of Utah President David Pershing. After the press conference, BYU President Kevin Worthen and BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe released their own statements. All the statements are included below:
University of Utah President David Pershing
The University of Utah has a rich history, which is closely tied to Brigham Young University. That connection has led to positive collaborations in academics as well as athletics. Many outstanding BYU students come to the U for graduate and professional education, including medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programs. We are dedicated to ensuring the University of Utah is a welcoming place for all students.
While we respect and value the rivalry between our athletic programs, several negative aspects have emerged over the last several years that need to be addressed.
I have had the opportunity to speak to BYU President Kevin Worthen about this issue. We are committed to working together to make this historic rivalry a healthier one. BYU and the U will resume their football contests at Rice Eccles Stadium this fall, and we want the games to be exhilarating and enjoyable for both athletes and fans. During the next few weeks, I will create a working group of faculty, staff, students and fans to assist in identifying changes that can be made to ensure future athletic contests are exciting and respectful for all.
Although there will be no basketball game with BYU next year, we are committed to expanding the schedule to include BYU and other state schools, to the extent that they desire such games. This year, we played both BYU and SUU . In future years, our goal is to again play two in-state schools each year, which will include BYU, USU, SUU, WSU and UVU.
We are fortunate to have such strong academic and athletic institutions in the State of Utah. Together, we share the common vision of providing excellence in education, as we prepare the next generation of Utahns to reach their full potential.
Utah Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak
Over the past three seasons I have witnessed an escalating pattern of behavior that I believe is over and above what can be described as within the nature of a rivalry game.
I am not implying that any individual is guilty as I understand fully that situations fueled with this much emotion can create opportunity for people to do things they regret. Compounding the problem for me is what I consider to be a lack of remorse after the behavior—both in things said and left unsaid—and I have no reason to believe this pattern of behavior will change on its own.
I want to be crystal clear regarding two big issues.
- I am concerned about the potential for a serious injury in the current atmosphere of this rivalry.
- Within this matchup exists a highly venomous and toxic environment that fuels irrational behavior and has nothing to do with enhancing relationships or appreciating differences. I feel that this basketball rivalry has a virus in its operating system and it’s time to turn the computer off and reboot it at a later date. I believe we at the University of Utah should stand on our own merits and continue to enhance this community at large, all the while living and playing with integrity.
I have a great deal of respect for the universities within the state of Utah and their basketball programs. We want to continue to be a good partner within the Utah system and our goal is to play two Utah institutions per year, just as we did this year.
I sincerely appreciate the support of Athletics Director Chris Hill and President Pershing and I want to assure them that I will attempt to hold our student athletes to their highest standards on and off the court.
Utah Athletics Director Dr. Chris Hill
“After meeting with President Pershing and Coach Krystkowiak over the weekend, we are moving forward with our decision to take a break from our series with BYU.”
Brigham Young Univesity President Kevin Worthen
BYU values its long relationship with the University of Utah and our positive collaborations in academics and athletics. Like President Pershing, we hope this relationship continues. Our desire is to continue the athletic relationship on an annual basis. It is unfortunate the basketball game with the University of Utah will not be played during the 2016-17 season. We appreciate the plans President Pershing has in place to establish a working group at the University of Utah to identify changes that can be made to ensure future athletic contests are respectful for all. We too have worked to identify where changes can be made, and we will continue these efforts. Our hope is that both schools can work together to achieve our shared goals.
BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe
I am disappointed in the University of Utah’s decision to cancel the 2016 basketball game with BYU. As a former player, coach and now administrator, I believe BYU-Utah is one of the great college rivalries in the country. It is bigger than any of the individual participants and should be played every year. We value the long-standing relationship with Utah and are hopeful the basketball series, which has been played for more than a century, will continue on a yearly basis in the very near future. I believe the game is important to the players, coaches, alumni and fans.