If the University of Utah and Utah State University want to play basketball with newly created Southern Utah University, that would be nice.

But larger state universities should not be forced by legislative mandate to alter their schedules to do so, the Senate Education Committee concluded Thursday.SB31, a bill introduced by Sen. Dixie Leavitt, R-Cedar City, passed the committee favorably, but only after it had been watered down to "encourage" the larger schools to play the smaller ones.

As Leavitt, an SUU hometown fan, would have liked it, the bill would have mandated games on alternating home fields once a year.

Ted Capener, U. vice president for university relations, said universities schedule games years ahead and could lose money if they drop an out-of-state school to accommodate SUU.

The greatest objection, however, was philosophical. "It is inappropriate for the Legislature to dictate athletic policy," Capener said.