Utah Basketball head coach Larry Krystkowiak has made up his mind. Chris Hill, the University of Utah's Athletic Director, has supported Krystkowiak and taken action.
Not only have BYU and Utah played each other 257 times, including a matchup every year since 1909 (except for one year during World War II), they have been as close and competitive as possible with an odd amount of games. BYU edges Utah in the series by one game with a record of 129-128. It is an incredible, intense rivalry. One of the truly great matchup in the history of the college game. It has been incalculably valuable to both programs in their growth and chase for basketball excellence.
Which is why BYU head coach Dave Rose is baffled by Krystkowiak's desire to let it "cool down" and fade away. In fact, Rose flat out "doesn't respect the decision."
To clarify, here's Krystkowiak's explanation in his press release:
The event 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.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill doubled down:
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.
Tradition, excitement, pageantry, and genuine intrigue all allegedly placed upon the altar of player safety. A move I would totally support -- who doesn't love safety? -- if it wasn't an absolute garbage explanation.
Utah basketball and athletics would have been far better served to announce the cancellation of the basketball games without providing a reason than to dish out the avoid "the potential for serious injury" and "interests of our student-athlete welfare" nonsense. Should fans anticipate the following press releases in the next few days?
- I, Larry Krystkowiak, having just watched Cast Away, am now concerned about the dangers of air travel. Therefore, for the safety of our players. Therefore, we will no longer be taking an airplane for away games.
- Today, I am also concerned about travel in a bus. It is intense. What if we aren't allowed to slow it down once we get going? Bus travel is a situation in which players are at risk for grave tragedy. So, we will no longer be playing road games for the health and benefit of our student-athletes. By the way, I watched Sandra Bullock in Speed last night.
- Utah fans will no longer be allowed to enter the Huntsman Center until they clear the security check, which will now conclude with a mandatory Purell cleanse for all spectators. Lower bowl visitors will be required to wear surgical masks, similar to what cinephiles can witness in the Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. thrill ride Outbreak. All this will be done for the protection of our players.
- I'm delighted to announce that the Huntsman Center will now undergo improvements to have a bomb shelter deep within its recesses in case The Sum of All Fears occurs and a nuclear war threatens the safety of our student-athletes.