Tennessee will pay three non-conference football opponents $1.975 million to play in Neyland Stadium this season.
UAB will receive a $750,000 guarantee, the highest UT will pay this season, for the Vols' home-opener Sept. 13 in Knoxville.
Northern Illinois will earn $725,000 for its Oct. 4 game in Knoxville, and Wyoming will earn $500,000 for its Nov. 8 game in Neyland Stadium.
The latter is the final game of a home-away-home series with the Vols that began in 1999, however Wyoming sold its lone home game in the series to the city of Nashville in 2002.
"What we're having to pay is a result of a gradual steady increase over that time basing off what we were paying a couple years ago," UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said. "We have those (non-conference buyout games) pretty much locked down until 2012, with the exception of one game we're looking for.
"Obviously, what we will be paying in 2012 will be more than we're paying today. But I went ahead and tried to get ahead of the game two or three years ago and book those out a little bit further."
UT's $1.975 million in payouts represents about 7 percent of its projected football ticket revenue of $26.05 million for fiscal 2009.
In the coming years, Hamilton said Tennessee is scheduled to pay as much as $825,000 for a non-conference game.
Still, that figure, as well as this year's $750,000 payout to UAB is lower than at least one other SEC school's highest payout this season.
Arkansas, which saw Utah State break its deal for a non-conference game this season, added Tulsa as a replacement for a guarantee of $850,000, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Utah State, meanwhile, paid just $50,000 to terminate its contract with Arkansas.
Under most contracts, Tennessee charges a minimum penalty of $500,000 if an opponent backs out of a deal, Hamilton said, making it highly unlikely a school could break a contract with UT and still earn more money elsewhere.
"It's not as much a concern now as it was at one point," Hamilton said. "Tennessee's penalty clause was historically not significant enough that it would have stopped that. I've changed the penalty clause in most of the contracts I've done. Almost all of the contracts that I've done now, it's a minimum penalty of a half-million dollars if a school decides to back out of the game, which obviously is a deterrent in a lot of ways to doing that."
In 2009, Ohio will earn $750,000, while Memphis will be paid $250,000. UT earned $250,000 for its visit to Memphis in 2006.
Tennessee will not pay UCLA for its trip to Knoxville next season, because the Vols play at UCLA in their season-opener on Sept. 1.
Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.