Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said that the Tigers looked into several scenarios for trying to line up a Division I-A opponent to replace Southern Mississippi, which pulled out of a game previously scheduled to be played Sept. 24th at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Western Kentucky is a traditional Division I-AA power, which came to Auburn for a game two seasons ago and lost 48-3.
"We tried to make several changes on the schedule, but we didn't have success doing that and there weren't many options available," Tuberville said.
AU officials were also looking to balance their schedule that features five consecutive home games starting with the season opener vs. Georgia Tech on Sept. 3rd, but were unable to do that either.
Western Kentucky and Auburn officials announced on Friday that they have agreed to a one-year deal. The Hilltoppers are expected to receive around $400,000 for the game.
Western Kentucky and other Division I-AA teams use the games vs. Division I-A opponents like Auburn as a revenue source. Last year WKU played at Kansas State, losing 27-13 to the Wildcats.
Approximately 40 percent of the Division I-A teams played a Division I-AA opponent last season and 11 of the 12 SEC teams have played at least one Division I-AA opponent in the past five seasons. However, at Auburn games against the Division I-AA have been less than well received by some fans, who prefer that the Tigers play all of their football games vs. I-A opposition.
By adding Western Kentucky to the schedule, a team that doesn't require a home-and-home series, the Tigers will have seven home games, something AU officials say is necessary for financial reasons.
Sept. 3--Georgia Tech at Auburn
Sept. 10--Mississippi State at Auburn
Sept. 17--Ball State at Auburn
Sept. 24--Western Kentucky at Auburn
Oct. 1--South Carolina at Auburn
Oct. 15--Auburn at Arkansas
Oct. 22--Auburn at LSU
Oct. 29--Ole Miss at Auburn
Nov. 5--Auburn at Kentucky
Nov. 12--Auburn at Georgia
Nov. 19--Alabama at Auburn