Why Larry Krystkowiak was wrong to cancel Utah-BYU series, more mail

Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated

I wanted to give Larry Krystkowiak the benefit of the doubt. I really did. He had a lengthy press conference on Monday, and I was hoping he would reveal a worthwhile justification for his decision to scuttle the annual Utah-BYU series. But he didn’t.

The basic thrust of his reasoning has remained consistent. On Monday, he said the series, which has only been interrupted once since 1909, has gotten too “venomous and toxic,” and is therefore too dangerous for his players. “I am concerned about the potential for serious injury in the current atmosphere of this rivalry,” he said in his prepared opening statement. “Compounding the problem for me is what I consider to be a lack of remorse after the behavior, both in things said and left unsaid, and I have no reason to believe this pattern of behavior will change on its own.”

Krystkowiak was referring specifically, but not exclusively, to last November, when BYU guard Nick Emery hit Utah’s Brandon Taylor and then stepped over Taylor and jawed at him. Emery was suspended a game and issued a public apology the next day. Krystkowiak complained on Monday that when Krystkowiak went onto the court to see if Taylor was O.K., one of BYU’s players told him to get back on the bench. Apparently this hurt the coach’s feelings.

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