Hello, Crimson Club members:

I have a favor to ask. I need your help to bring back the rivalry basketball game.

The rivalry is awesome!

I love the rivalry — both football and basketball. So much of my passion for BYU sports is tied to the rivalry. In football, who can forget field goals hitting the uprights or being blocked, overtime wins, Hail Marys, 34-31? In basketball, the series is essentially tied after 256 games played for over 100 years. That's amazing!

But we do need to address a problem. …

The rivalry is starting to feel like our national political scene where extremists rule. The far-right Republicans and the far-left Democrats are bitter, obnoxious and uncompromising. These political extremists view the other party as being wrong 100 percent of the time and feel that blocking anything the other party does “just because” is a reward unto itself.

Unfortunately, in the rivalry, we have extreme blue and extreme red fans who feel and act like these politicians. You know who they are. Just check your social media and the comments sections of any sports-related article or forum.

The extreme reds relish the fact that the Utes got invited into a P5 conference and BYU did not, therefore the Utes don't "need" BYU anymore. I admit I am jealous. I hope that BYU gets the same opportunity one day. However, deciding which team "needs" the rivalry more misses the point. The rivalry is about tradition and nostalgia. The rivalry is about student-athletes who take their performance to new heights fueled by the adrenaline and passion that only a true rivalry can bring out. The rivalry is for the fans.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid some of the extreme red thinking has caught hold with Utah’s administration. It's hard to blame them. The extreme reds and extreme blues are very loud, and the unsportsmanlike atmosphere they cause is a shame.

True blue and true red fans (the majority of each fan base) must take charge. …

True blues and true reds are passionate about their teams without hating the other side. True blues happily cheered for Utah in the 1998 basketball title game and in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. True reds gave Jimmer a standing ovation at the Huntsman center. We need the true blues and true reds to make their voices heard by calling out and shutting down the extreme blues and extreme reds on social media and in person.

Let’s open a dialogue on improving sportsmanship. How about having players from both teams perform a joint service project the week of the football and basketball game such as visiting children battling serious illnesses at Primary Children's Hospital, or doing a joint fundraiser for cancer research with all proceeds going to the Huntsman Cancer Institute?

To open this dialogue, true reds must convince the Utah administration to listen. …

True reds — you are the only ones to whom the Utah administration will listen. Complaints from Cougars won’t do it. Neither will an audit of Utah athletics by the state (which is ridiculous). Will hundreds of you please reach out? Let Utah’s administration know the extreme reds do not speak for you. Let them know you want the rivalry game back — right now — in Provo next year. Let them know how much the rivalry game means to you and that the rivalry is so much bigger than just one person or one incident. Ask them to address sportsmanship as part of reinstating the game.

Please help us, true reds. You are our only hope!

Jeff Johnson is a life-long BYU Cougar fan and current Cougar Club member.