SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - One day after BYU players and coaches criticized the University of Utah for the possibility of the rivalry series being discontinued, Utes athletic director Dr. Chris Hill responded.
Hill said he believes the series will not be played on a yearly basis anymore, but he is working to keep it alive.
"I'm not that confident that it will be played without an interruption," Hill said. "I don't think anybody can be confident with the way the world is changing."
When Utah agreed to play Michigan in 2014 and 2015, the likelihood of the Utah-BYU game being played in those years decreased significantly. The Utes already have to play nine Pac-12 Conference games, and adding two power schools like Michigan and BYU would make their schedule extremely difficult.
"We know how valuable the rivalry is at the University of Utah, at BYU and to the community," Hill said. "But at the same time, we've got to do what's best for our program and make sure they can be successful."
As of now, the Utes and Cougars are scheduled to play this September. Hill and Holmoe are hopeful to work out a deal to play the game in 2013, but beyond that, nothing is for sure.
"I just think there are going to be times when it makes a tremendous amount of sense to play it, and other times where we both look each other in the eye and say, 'This year or these next two years it may not make as much sense.'"
At BYU media day, Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall didn't see the tough schedule excuse as a good reason to discontinue the rivalry. Quarterback Riley Nelson said that Utah was acting selfishly. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy believed Utah just didn't want to play BYU.
Hill said he understood their frustration.
"I can see that from their standpoint," he said. "We need to work hard to see if we can make it sense for us. We're going to try to do that as long as it makes sense for our program."