Cancelling of BYU-Utah basketball could be UVU’s gain

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The University of Utah decided to cancel next season’s men’s basketball game against Brigham Young University. Head coach of the Utes, Larry Krystkowiak has cited numerous reasons as to why Utah decided to put the Holy War, one of the nation’s top college rivalries, on hiatus. Whether you think the cancellation is about player safety or not, this could potentially be a good thing for Utah Valley University.

Earlier this season, the Wolverines played the Cougars at the Marriott Center for only the second time since UVU became a D-1 university. The first meeting took place in 2003 when Ronnie Price loomed large. Fast-forward twelve years, and the two schools will play against each other once per year in the next four years.  This “Parkway Series” could become a big rivalry, especially if the University of Utah decides not to play any more men’s basketball games against BYU. UVU and BYU are within five miles of each other. BYU may view UVU as the littlest of brothers, but if they compete against little brother over and over again something is going to give. The potential is there for little brother to beat big brother.  There is also potential for drama, excitement, and getting caught in the angst and tension of the competition.  If the UVU team finds a way to win even one of the next four games in four years, a rivalry will spark. No Cougar wants to see their team lose to the Wolverines.

This might be wishful thinking on my part because I want UVU to play BYU in every sport.  Last November I covered the UVU women’s soccer team’s historic run to the NCAA tournament. The atmosphere of the game was electrically flowing from start to finish.  Those in favor of UVU screamed their support the entire game hoping the Wolverines would pull off the upset.  Those in favor of BYU screamed and cheered the entire game to help their team prevent an upset.  It was the same when the two schools met in men’s basketball. 17,683 fans packed the Marriott Center to watch the two teams compete, even though BYU won by 31 points. The same type of intense atmosphere will occur more often if UVU and BYU continue to compete against one another.  BYU doesn’t have to say goodbye completely to their old rivalry with the Utes, but saying hello to a new one with the Wolverines wouldn’t hurt.