The notoriously chippy Utah-BYU rivalry has been even chippier than usual lately. Last month a freshman BYU basketball player was ejected for throwing a cheap shot at a Utah player, and when the two football teams met in the Las Vegas Bowl, Utah had a lot to say about how “dirty” BYU was. Surveying the landscape, Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak has decided the rivalry has gotten too intense, and removed BYU from Utah’s 2016-17 schedule.
Here is his statement on the matter:
“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 [Hill, Utah’s athletic director] 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).”
As non-conference opponents—BYU is in the WCC and Utah is in the Pac-12—BYU and Utah aren’t automatically scheduled to play each other, but have done so for over 100 years, with the all-time series barely in BYU’s favor, 129-128.
For as rough as the series has legitimately been at times, it’s hard to believe Krystkowiak genuinely thinks that somebody is going to be seriously injured on the basketball court. Can’t both coaches just agree to talk with their players about toning it down, or have the two teams eat dinner and watch Remember the Titans together or something? BYU-Utah is one of the best rivalries in college basketball, and it’d be a shame if it went away permanently.
Photo via Getty; h/t Anderson