At least in the way that it scheduled games to break long droughts for University of Utah men’s basketball to play some in-state opponents, the Beehive Classic found some success.
But this weekend’s third round of the initial three-year series for the yearly Utah college basketball doubleheader will be the last. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday night that Saturday’s matchups of Weber State vs. Utah and BYU vs. Utah State will bring the Beehive Classic to a close.
Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment confirmed the decision to the Tribune through a statement that said: “We appreciate the scheduling flexibility of BYU, Utah, Utah State and Weber State and the support of our sponsors to make the Beehive Classic a reality the past three seasons.”
The Beehive Classic began in hopes of celebrating basketball in Utah by bringing together BYU, Utah, Utah State and Weber State for a yearly doubleheader in Salt Lake City. It included contractual provisions for LHMSE, the parent company of the Utah Jazz, to kick back a large percentage of revenue to the participating schools and tickets that gave fans entry to see both in-state battles.
This season, however, the schedule shifted and tickets have been sold separately to Weber State vs. Utah at 2 p.m. and BYU vs. Utah State at 6 p.m.
Utah State’s 2017 game against Utah was its first against the Utes since 2010 and Weber State will play the U on Saturday for the first time since 2011.
The decision will likely move existing in-state series to their previous formats next season. BYU and USU, a longtime home-and-home series, had begun playing a home-home-neutral setup using the home of the Jazz for a three-year rotation before the creation of the Beehive Classic.
Weber State, meanwhile, is likely to return to a home-and-home setup with BYU and Utah State.
As for Utah? There seems little chance Weber State plays the Utes again, at least until Larry Krystkowiak is no longer the coach there.
Krystkowiak admitted to the Deseret News earlier this week that he dropped Weber State from the schedule after the Wildcats demolished his Utes 80-51 in 2011.
“No, I can’t,” Krystkowiak said to the Deseret News when asked if he could explain why WSU and Utah haven’t played since. “I just haven’t scheduled them. I don’t know why it was done 35 straight years, but we can’t play everybody in-state every year ... I didn’t want to play them because they kicked our butts the last time we played them.”
Sources told the Standard-Examiner that, in past years under previous athletic directors for both schools, WSU had offered to play a one-off road game at the Huntsman Center to get the ball rolling again, which obviously bore no fruit. So the series that played nearly every season from 1975 to 2011 is likely to play this 2019 blip and go dormant again.
Looking ahead to a potential 2020-21 Weber State schedule, previous rotations with in-state schools would point to the Wildcats hosting Utah State and Utah Valley next season, as well as a still-owed home game against Fresno State, while playing BYU on the road.