BYU Athletics: U of U cancels 2016 rivalry basketball game

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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.



  • Cornelius

    Maybe if they could be sure their players would not be injured by some BYU player’s cheapshot they would be willing to keep playing against them. Maybe it’s time fore some program introspection to make sure the players can keep control of themselves.


      It is unfortunate that the U of U wimped out. Seeing as how all their players are virgins nominated for sainthood I can see why they’d want to turn and run.

    • Apologist JD

      Nice try. Utah players have thrown punches in these games in the recent past too, the only difference is BYU didn’t curl up in fetal position and ask for a blanket to snuggle. The reality is, this is the standard Utah athletics MO, when you see you’re going to start losing, chicken out and schedule cannon fodder instead. It was the same story when Utah chickened out of the football games. Utah only has success when it pads its schedule with patsies, and Hill and his coaches know it.

  • Joey Malcolm

    It’s sad when players loose it and resort to cheap shots . The Utes and coach K are on point I agree with them in cancelling games . It’s not worth a young player getting seriously injured because of some undisciplined tool throws a sucker punch . Bravo to coach K and Chris Hill for putting the welfare of our players ahead of everything else

    • Dave Horne

      It’s unfortunate that this and in Football that these issues always seem to be reported as one sided. Both teams and coaches are at fault at keeping their players in control. There’s no aggression that isn’t spawned by some prior action; that unfortunately the umpire or referee didn’t see or ignores. I’m not excusing the player’s responses and actions here; they need to be taught good sportsmanship; but that includes every action, the before and the after; so there is no confrontation and expulsion as the result. Having the teams not play to have a cooling off period is the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard of and very childish. To me it’s an example that Coach Krystkowiak and Director Hill have no real influence on their own players.

  • Randy Gelter

    Cowards. What’s next Coach LK? Stop keeping score and everyone gets to play at least 2 quarters? The U didn’t mind when it was their players taking swings, but now someone might get hurt?
    Coach LK just knows that he is losing any good players he has and BYU will be loaded next year. Nice excuse. How much will this cancellation cost the U?

      • Billy ray

        Utah fans also think they are national force to be reckoned with and are playing on a different level than Utah, only to end up playing them in a bowl game. Rivalries are a part of sports, they are pansies, and as mentioned maybe they just need to start handing out a participation trophy instead of keeping score at the U games.

      • RFRMAC

        Nice Billy, last time I looked BYU lost both games. As for being pansies, well, you know better than that. Utah needs to do what’s best for Utah. BYU should do the same. Things are not the same as they where 10 years ago. As for Utah being a national power, we’re working on it. Coach “K” is the real thing. It took guts to do this. I am happy Chris Hill supported it. It does make one wonder why we signed a long term agreement to play BYU in football though. And before to many stones are thrown, what did BYU do to Utah State?

  • Matthew

    I have to agree with coach K’s decision. BYU has garnered a reputation for poor sportsmanship. In the last two years the cheap shot and the hard foul in basketball, the elbow to back of the head in Miami bowl, the list goes on. I don’t like playing against poor sports either. Call it “emotions of the game”, rivalry issues or whatever. BYU just needs to establish some discipline and recognize their bad rep not just against Utah but around the country.

  • Matthew

    I have to agree with couch K’s decision. BYU has garnered a reputation for poor sportsmanship not just against Utah but around the country. The punch and the hard foul in basketball, the cheap shot in the Miami bowl, and the list goes on. BYU just needs to instill some discipline in their athletes. I don’t like playing poor sports either.

  • Eddie Henkle

    I think BYU needs to establish a policy that if one of their athletes in any sport gets into a fight that person should be expelled from the school and lose their scholarship.Then they would think twice about being a bunch of thugs.Because that’s their reputation around the country now.

  • Travis

    I can’t really blame him. BYU is known for cheap shots, and being poor sports. There is always a risk of some type of injury in sports, but when you play the dirtiest team in college sports, that number increases dramatically.


      The U of U has never thrown a cheap shot Travis. It is unfortunate that nationally they are getting bad press over their decision to quit while they are behind. I really can’t blame them.

  • craig smith

    I am a Utah graduate and avid fan and always loved the rivalry between BYU and Utah. However, to be honest, since Utah joined the PAC12 and BYU went independent, I really haven’t cared whether the two played each other or not. Utah plays such good teams as part of the PAC12, it’s almost of waste of time to play BYU. It’s still gratifying to see Utah beat BYU but honestly since Utah joined the PAC12, BYU has won a game against Utah very few times, suggesting they are no longer playing up to the same level they once did, or Utah is playing much better than they did in the past.

  • nobody

    BYU football and basketball players are dirty. They are cry-baby thugs who think they are entitled to be the best. When that doesn’t happen they throw their tantrums. Utah has nothing to gain by playing them. It doesn’t matter.


      The U of U must pay BYU $80,000 for cancelling the last game. In addition the U of U has earned themselves some bad national press. Works for me.

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