In early December in-state rivals BYU and Utah played for the 257th time, with the Runnin’ Utes winning by the final score of 83-75 in Salt Lake City. Of course the game wasn’t without controversy, as BYU guard Nick Emery was ejected for striking Utah’s Brandon Taylor in the face late in the second half. Emery was given a one-game suspension for his actions, and it appeared as if there was a ready-made subplot for next season’s game in Provo.
Only one problem: the two teams won’t be playing. Wednesday afternoon BYU announced that Utah has decided to cancel next season’s game, and it remains to be seen if the teams will play again any time soon.
“I disagree with the decision,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said in the release. “I know our students, our players, our fans and college basketball fans in the intermountain area want to see this long-standing rivalry continue.”
Rose had more to say about the matter addressing the media Wednesday evening, reiterating his displeasure with Utah’s decision to pay a financial penalty to get out of the game.
“The rivalry is pretty heated. We’ve had some interesting moments over the years,” Rose said. “I’ve been involved in it for 18 years, and that’s a lot of the excitement of the game. You don’t want things to get out of hand, but in rivalry games things tend to get pretty heated at times. I don’t think that, from my point of view, the safety of the players is an issue.”
Next season’s game was scheduled to be played in Provo, and Rose added in his comments that in his opinion the game would still be on if it were to be played at Utah.