In some surprising news this afternoon, Utah basketball head coach Larry Krystkowiak and Utah AD Chris Hill announced that next year's rivalry game against BYU has been cancelled. Next year's game was scheduled to take place at the Marriott Center down in Provo.
Not that long ago, Chris Hill said that this rivalry game will continue, unlike the football series which took a break. Apparently, Coach K approached Hill and requested the game be cancelled based off some of the antics on the floor, namely players throwing punches. After this most recent game in December, when BYU guard Nick Emery was thrown out of the game for punching Brandon Taylor, Krystkowiak noted to the media that this was the second time in three years (both at the Huntsman Center) that a BYU player was kicked out of the game for punching a player. In 2013, it was BYU center Eric Mika who was shown the door early. At the time of Krystkowiak saying that, I didn't think anything of it. But it sounds like enough is enough for Coach K, and he wanted to call the series off for a bit, hoping it'll cool down.
I enjoy the basketball rivalry game a lot more than the football one, right now, so this news really caught me off guard. The basketball matchup is much more digestible, as it's one of about 30 games on a schedule for the year. The basketball game didn't seem, to me anyway, to get to the level that the football game did in terms of emotion, but you can't really argue with two players throwing punches in three seasons.
Here's the official release from the athletic department:
Below are statements from Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak and athletics director Chris Hill regarding the decision to cancel next year's 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)."
"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."