Utah athletics director Chris Hill announced via YouTube today that the Utes are close to signing a contract to play the BYU Cougars in 2017 and 2018 (see video below).
“I can assure you that (BYU A.D.) Tom Holmoe and I have had many discussions, and we are very close to signing a contract. It looks like in 2017 we’ll be playing in the early part of September, and in an unusual situation in 2018 we’ll be playing the last game of the year” Hill said.
Hill went on to say that they needed to get final approval from the Pac-12 Conference and should be able to make an official announcement in early August, if not sooner.
“We value the BYU-Utah rivalry. We know it’s important to our student-athletes, to our universities, to our fans, and to the media” said Hill.
The future of the yearly BYU-Utah series has been uncertain ever since the Utes joined the Pac-12. With only three non-conference games per year, Utah has been concerned about overdoing their strength of schedule.
To that end, the schools will not meet in 2014 and 2015, which will end their streak of consecutive games played at 68. It just so happens that Utah will play Michigan those two seasons and didn’t want to face the Cougars also.
“To say the rivalry is going to be the same, it’s not,” Hill said last year. “We need to take a reasonable approach to the season.”
Last July, Utah and BYU agreed to a two-game contract for 2013 and 2016. The 2013 game is set for Sept. 21 in Provo, while the 2016 contest is slated for Sept. 10 in Salt Lake City.
Update (6:15 p.m. ET)
Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News has tweeted that Utah A.D. Chris Hill said BYU is starting a home-and-home series with Stanford in 2020.
Hill also said late-season games with BYU won't be regular because of BYU-USC series and BYU-Stanford series beginning in 2020.
— Mike Sorensen (@sorny8) July 9, 2013