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Brandon Judd, Deseret News
BYU fans were hard hats and safety vests at the Cougars' game against Santa Clara on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016.

PROVO — While most fans were focused on the actual game against Santa Clara Thursday night at the Marriott Center, Utah’s recent decision to cancel next year’s rivalry game due to alleged safety concerns was, at least, a prominent afterthought.

Several fans in the BYU’s student section came adorned in hard-hats, bicycle helmets and other safety gear, making light of the stated reasons for Utah discontinuing the series. When physical play would ensue, that same section would chant, "That's not safe!" to give actual voice to the mockery.

On Wednesday, Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak issued a release, stating, “The level of emotions has escalated to the point where there is the potential for serious injury” as his reason to forgo next year’s scheduled game at the Marriott Center.

During the game BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe joined the ESPN broadcasting crew to lend his view to the cancellation.

Holmoe expressed a strong desire to continue the series while working to correct bad actions on the court. He lamented the fact that both athletic offices are currently working away from one another, rather than coming together in order to fix whatever concerns exist with regards to playing the game.

Holmoe ended his comments stating, "The game's got to be bigger than the individuals", while entertaining the thought of playing at a neutral site for future games — possibly at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.

Taysom Hill sighting: BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who is currently weighing his decision on whether to return to BYU or play elsewhere, attended Thursday's game. His presence was noted by many in attendance, particularly the student section, which started chanting, "We love Taysom!" during a timeout.

Hill acknowledged the crowd with a smile and a wave.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney