PROVO, Utah — BYU released a press release Wednesday afternoon saying that University of Utah head basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak told BYU head coach Dave Rose that the Utes will not play the Cougars in 2016. The game was contracted to be played in Provo at the Marriott Center.
“I disagree with the decision,” Rose said. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.”
Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the decision to cancel the scheduled game against BYU.
“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. 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),” Krystkowiak said.
U of U athletics director Chris Hill also weighed in.
“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,” Hill said in a statement released Wednesday.
Utah and BYU are no longer in the same conference, but it’s stilla heated rivalry. BYU’s Nick Emery was ejected from the game this season in December for throwing a punch at Utah’s Brandon Taylor. And BYU’s Eric Mika was ejected from the game two seasons ago.
The Utes and Cougars have played every year since 1909, with the only exception in 1944, when the season was cut short due to World War ll. The rivalry game is the seventh longest in the college basketball history. BYU leads the series 129-128.