Scheduling Becomes a Financial Challenge

This is Part 2 of a two-part story on the challenge of scheduling college football games. Kansas State is openly admitting that attempts are under way to eliminate Miami, Oregon and Virginia Tech from future schedule. But, it's a costly game to try to replace those schools and the Economics of replacing said schools is a large factor.

Interim athletics director Jim Epps indicated that Miami was close to finalizing a deal with an SEC school that would negate the contract with K-State.

Helping that cause is the fact that Kirby Hocutt, a former Wildcat linebacker under Snyder, is the AD of the Hurricanes.

As for the others, Epps said, "All the schools have been terrific in saying that they will search for a replacement. They are accommodating, but only to a point. Both sides understand that a suitable replacement must be found."

Epps says, however, finding those suitable games are more difficult than ever before. If Kansas State would decide to drop the games, it would be at a buy-out fee of $300,000 for the home-and-home contract. This past year, the program paid Fresno State $450,000 to void the final game of a home-and-home deal.

On this year's schedule, UMass has a $300,000 guarantee and Tennessee Tech a $400,000 contract. Missouri State next year has a $350,000 guarantee.

In trying to line up games for the near future, Epps said, "It's a whole new ballgame. I called Idaho, which had an open date on the same weekend we had one. I offered $600,000 and they said, 'Let's start at $800,000.' I said, 'No thank you.' Some schools are asking, and receiving, $1 million (guarantee) from schools that have a stadium of 75,000."

For a school like Kansas State with a 50,000-seat stadium, Epps said that the school nets between $1.3 and $1.2 million per home game. "We can't go out and offer some of those figures when it's half of our gate," Epps said. "Our football program is counted on to provide revenue for all of our other sports."

Epps said it's the same story in basketball. Guarantees two or three years ago were in the $35,000 range. Today, he says, "No name schools want $85,000, plus hotel rooms, plus paying for the bus transportation from Kansas City. Now you're talking about $95,000."

In filling the future football schedules, Epps said, "In some cases there's not going to be a choice. We're going to have to do home-and-home contracts. The days of having four non-conference home games are rapidly diminishing." Scheduling the Division I-AA type school is also going to become even more common. Epps said that Clemson played two such games last year, and that Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State are all playing two in 2009.

"It's all about economics," Epps said. "And even those schools (I-AA) are asking for $400,000."

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