The Utah Utes and BYU Cougars have announced that the 2016 basketball game between Utah and BYU at the Marriott Center in Provo will not be played. The cancelation came from Utah’s side.
“Coach [Larry] 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,” said Utah athletic director Chris Hill in a written statement. “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.”
“I disagree with the decision,” said BYU head coach Dave Rose. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.”
There have been many incidents in Utah-BYU games in several sports for many years. The most recent came on the December 2, 2015 matchup, when BYU’s Nick Emery punched Utah guard Brandon Taylor, and was ejected. Emery was given a one-game suspension for the act.
“The events that have occurred in our recent games with BYU led me to ask Dr. Hill several weeks ago if we could take a cooling off period and put the rivalry on hold,” Krystkowiak said. “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.”
The Utah-BYU basketball rivalry dates back to 1909, with BYU leading the all-time series, 129-128. World War II caused the only interruption in the series in 1944.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, the Utes will pay an $80,000 fee for the cancelation.
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