Non-conference foes earn almost $2M this season from UT

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.

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Comments » 123

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Cannon fodder.

ncvol writes:

Will never understand why so much!
Go Vols...

vols1314 writes:

i guess we have to pay the crappy teams we always schedule to come get their butt handed to them by us.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Does that money count toward the Fulmer Cup?

Ooop, meant the Neyland Chase.

vol52 writes:

Has Fulmer gotten his raise or or is the matter hush hush?

BigVolinCarolina writes:

So, looks like this is the real reason ticket prices were raised...we better not lose any of these games.

As it currently stands, the product on the field isn't worth the value of the money paid. I love UT...I love Volunteer football...I'll always be a fan and a faithful's not a cheap shot against the current staff but, rather, a realistic trend since the end of the 2001 season.

In any other profession, folks would have been fired for not closing the deal with as many opportunities as the football team has had under Coach Fulmer.

TommyJack writes:

BigVol: That's downright heresy.

MrBamSeydu writes:

This may seem a little TOO common-sensish, but... why do schools have to PAY other schools to play them? Just because it's an away game for that school?? That's retarded.

I highly doubt Gen. Neyland's teams ever paid other schools just because they were playing them in Knoxville.

It just seems really stupid to me.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

TommyJack: not sure what you're specifically referencing in terms of "heresy". Part of what I said or all of it?

One clarification, though: when I talked about closing the deal, I meant from 2002 to the present--not the overall career of CPF.

TommyJack writes:

BigVol. My big tongue was firmly in my big cheek.

tigervol9802 writes:

Trickle-down economics in college gotta love it!

dw0731 writes:

Didn't UAB beat Alabama last year or am I mistaken? UT better play in these games or a similar fate could happen.

waterskier3#226480 writes:

no fulmer has not received his raise... rumor has it the AD is waiting to see by how many points fulmer loses to fla by at home before he makes the offer.. if fulmer loses by single digits he gets 1X his current pay if he loses by double digits he will get 2X his current pay....

Now this is just the rumor.. so please don't leak it to fulmer because he's workin like heck

just kidding no body have a cow!!!!

dw0731 writes:

Checked my facts it was Louisiana-Monroe the Alabama lost to last season but you get my point about playing what most ranked teams consider patsies. You got to show up and play every game. That should all be 3 sure wins, and brother we will surely need them with Auburn, Florida and Georgia on our schedule.

givehim6 writes:

OK, so we pay other teams to come to Neyland and play. So why when we go to other non-conference teams home like UCLA thay do not pay us. What a way for scools to make $$$, have some big school pay you to kick your butt. So in cases like where APP. ST. bet Mich. last year did Mich. get a refund?

dw0731 writes:

givehim6, most smaller schools need the money for their athletic departments to schedule obvious mismatches. That 750K means so much to N. Illinois, Wyoming and UAB. Just read Anthlon 2008 predictions and Florida is #1 and loaded especially on offense. We could beat them with turnovers and lucky breaks. Both teams playing their best games though it doesn't look promising (not impossible just daunting). I do believe we will be a better team this year than last. Not predicting we will win the SEC, I think Florida will win it all (NC) but still a better overall team. Man if we could pull that upset over Florida though. I remember running out on the field after that missed field goal in 1998 that was the greatest thing I have ever seen in sports hands down (even back then I was no kid 38 at the time). It was incredible and I will never forget it.

TommyJack writes:

dw0731: Then you need to take your mo-jo back to this year's FL game. It never hurts to have a plan.

99gator writes:


i have withheld opinion on the fl-tenn game for this year.....but, after reading some of the preseason stuff, reading posts from people here regarding the tennessee defensive line, and doing further research on florida.....i don't see any way tenn beats florida unless florida hands tenn the game or something funny is in the air.

in 1998, it wasn't a miracle. tenn ended up winning the rest of their games. in 2008, i think it would be a minor miracle.

just a litte stat nugget....for those concerned with the tenn d-line.

i have said that i am not sure tenn will face a better qb than tebow, playmaker than harvin, or o-line than at florida this season.

well here are two under the radar stats regarding florida's o-line. florida led the nation, not just the conference, in third down conversions (percentage) and least amount of negative yardage plays from scrimmage.

also, tenn's big playmaker for this season (gerald jones, the guy who sjt18 compared to harvin) supposedly still is not starting and had 19 touches on the season last year.

i hate to burst the bubble, but i seriously don't see where everyone believes this offense (tenn)will be explosive this season. not, with a first year starting qb, new offensive coord, and the big play ability (tongue in cheek) of rogers and briscoe.

i may turn out to be wrong, and y'all can pelt me with posts, but, i just don't see it.

murrayvol writes:

givehim6: Michigan didn't get a refund but they got a helluva lot of publicity. Just guessing but I'd expect LSU to be a bit more prepared for Appy St.

murrayvol writes:

99gator: If UT beats UF, you can rest assured that in the immortal (albeit paraphrased) words of Freddie Mercury and Queen....."we will we will mock you."

Alas, I pretty much agree w/your post. In closing, however, I'll bet a lot that you don't hang 59 on our boys this year.

TommyJack writes:

99: Could be. Then again, maybe Pope Urban will prepare for us like he did for Michigan. No team or coach is infallible.

chrisw2967 writes:

not changing the subject but on July 3rd Georgias Mark Richt is going to be at the NCO club here at Ft. Stewart so I think im putting on my orange and go check it out.

chrisw2967 writes:

isnt Fla hurting on def. also ?
if so then it may be one of thosr games that comes down to the last team that has the ball.
I dont really see Fla being no different than last year , its also another year where coaches can plan better against Tebow and Harvin after seeing them from last year.
99gator:doing research isnt a bad thing but reading about it and believing in it is another.
we read and believed everything when we were picked in 05 and looked what happened

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Are donkey's practicing flying around Boerne? Fla not ready for the Vols!

No coach is infalliable? I assume you meant present company excepted.

As BigVolInCarolina so succintly noted above, anyone else would have been shown the gate after nine years. Its all about goals. If at first you don't succeed, lower the goals till you do.

TommyJack writes:

PD: Our coach long ago proved that he is fallible. Suburban's performance against MI seemed to show his. Maybe there are more in store. Who knows?
Besides, if you accept mediocrity long enough, it becomes the norm. Pay more, expect less. (lowers the bar, thus less painful)

cjraney writes:

There's a good chance you're right about our offense's lack of explosiveness. However our run game should be strong if we will commit to it. Given that your D-line isn't much better than ours, it wouldn't take much of a miracle for the Vols stay in the game with defense and a solid rushing attack. A UT win would definitely be an accomplishment but its far from a lead-pipe lock for the Gators [especially in June].

99gator writes:


tenn has not been able to run the football well against florida in the last couple of years. in addition, they have not been able to pound the rock like they once did in general.

i am not a big believer that florida will have a great defense or anything, but i don't think tenn has the right offense to take advantage of florida's problems(potential) on the defensive side.

cjraney writes:

I'm thinking you might also believe your D-line has a chance to be much-improved with Dunlap? and that new stud DT. Shut down our running game and put the pressure on Crompton. You could be right.

I'm hoping for the same thing for the Vols D-line. But its less likely for UT since it would mean some JR's & SR's have unexpected break-out seasons or some 2d-string sophomore's just come out of nowhere. Could happen, not too likely.

cjraney writes:

The last couple years have been the Cutcliff running attack which is to say intermittent, inconsistent, and failure to commit throughout 4 quarters. I expect, and hope for, this to change this year.

Since I think you're right about our lack of high-octane offense, I'm betting our new OC doesn't expect to just come in and light up the SEC either. Wouldn't be a reasonable expectation. Sooo, I would bet he will try to lean more heavily on our Sr. RB and solid O-line. I hope he does cause I think its our best chance to win some conf games this year.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

How much did Michigan pay to be humiliated by Appalachian State?

TommyJack writes:

jcherrie: Too much.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

We should have played Chattanooga instead of N. Ill. Bigger crowd.

LongtimeVol writes:

We pay, like other big programs, so we don't have to do a home and home. It is why we have 7 home games and only 5 away games. We aren't paying UCLA because it is a home and home deal. My complaint with these games is that we tend to play down to the level of competition. Last year we took care of business, but 2 years ago it took a game saving play by Xavier Mitchell on the last play to avoid an embarrassing loss to Air Force, and 3 years ago we narrowly beat UAB 17-10 in our home opener.

TommyJack writes:

Longtime: You're right, but CPF doesn't like to "run it up".

PD: We need to schedule a home & home with Tennishoe you some driven time.

invisiblekid writes:

99Gator, I stated my case the other day on why I believe our offense will be better than last year. Just to hit the highlights in no particular order: 1)If Clawson is as good as advertised, he should break some of these 20+ year old tendencies that we saw under Fulmer and Cutcliffe 2)I don't buy the installing a new offense argument. If Franklin at Auburn can do it in 8 days, then Clawson should be able to in 8 months. 3)Jones was hampered by a hamstring injury and should be much more of a factor this season. Staying with the WR's for a minute, Paige and Moore could well push Rogers and Briscoe for playing time. 4)Crompton gives the offense more options as far as a downfield game and possibly making an occassional play with his legs. 5)If Cutcliffe can put 32PPG on the board with an injured QB, routine disappearing acts in the second half, and some of the most predictable play calling in the SEC, why shouldn't we expect better? The bottom line though is it's June and no one really has any idea what to expect.

invisiblekid writes:

99 Gator, just a suggestion for you, it's probably a tad early to consider anything minor miracles at this point. With the Gators defense, I wouldn't consider any SEC games a lock. If there is one thing we have learned the past couple of years, a mediocre defense can keep any opposing team in a game. Especially a mediocre defense that is soft up the middle and last I saw, you guys are counting on two freshmen who have never seen a snap in the SEC at DT.

Colliervol writes:

99gator, you might very well be right. But, then again, remember that Big Brown's trainer thought his horse was unbeatable too. And look how embarrassed he is today. Stuff happens that nobody can account for.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

Guys. I just think we aren't giving the potential that our new OC brings enough consideration. Y'all seem to think it's all about coaching "up" the players you have. Well Tennessee may not have had the best recruiting class this year, but didn't we have two top 10s? (05 and 07 classes?)...To me this says the talent is there. Sooo, let's say hypothetically that Clawson is a diamond in the rough, an offensive genius at the top of the heap, just waiting for his Bowl Division opportunity. Well now he has it at one of the premier schools in the SEC, which happens to be the premier conference in all of college football. I think we have the players if his staff has what it takes to coach them up, put fire in their spirits, and put the ball in their hands on game day.

And defensively, I know we have some holes, but I also think we need to look at Tennessee's repuration for the last 12 or so years on the defensive side of the ball. Chavis may not like recruiting, but he's put together some pretty fast slobber-knocker defenses over the years. He does a pretty good job of making his gameplan. I think he lacks halftime adjustments (seems like we play too much zone in the seconf half)...but for some reason I don't think our defensive woes are going to be as big a factor as some would believe.

So, really guys..I'm trying to be reasonable, positive, and give everyone something to look forward to. Let's see what Clawson can do. I just have this funny feeling (like I did in the 97, 98 time frame) that this team will be special. I'm taking sjt's stance. We need to give this coaching staff two years. They deserve the benefit of the doubt in 08 due to implementing new philosophies. But if CPFs team isn't a BCS team in 2009 I'll be grabbing my pitchfork.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

that should be reputation not repuration LOL.

99gator writes:

good to see i got y'all mad at a gator instead of each other.

i don't mean to suggest that tenn can not win. but, i think that it would be safe to say that it would be an upset.

i would say the florida defense should be improved, although still not an elite unit. but, i will explain my thought process on that. florida was as bad defensively last year as they are ever going to be.....and tenn struggled to run the ball. florida also covered their wr's as good as any team they played last season.

so, the coaches may have changed. but, i don't know how quickly they can be up to speed and how good they could be once they do. and, until i see something different, i just have no respect for the skill positions.

now, as someone else said.....respect can be earned quickly. i had no respect for georgia and then along came a beat down.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Anything can happen in these ballgames, particularly in the SEC East--and that's why, as the old saying goes, "they play the game".

As for the UT-Florida matchup this year in Neyland, it's too soon to tell who is going to win the game because players can get into trouble, fall into academic problems or injuries can befall a team.

With that being said, it's a safe bet that, if we lose to Florida, odds are it will be because Meyer will outcoach Fulmer. I HATE saying this, particularly since it involves Florida. But, Meyer knows our tendencies a lot better than Fulmer knows Florida.

ZacharyUTK writes:

I wonder how much Michigan payed App State?

txsvol#372416 writes:

Donkeys don't fly over Boerne, but they have nearby pastures full of fainting goats! (BTW, the Aggie Hill Country Extention Station up in Junction recently discovered a new use for sheep----wool!) I'm glad somebody explained the economics of collegiate football to the earlier posters. A school like the University of Chattanooga used to be fodder for us, and maybe Ole Miss, or Auburn, or Georgia. Those blow-out losses funded the budget of the ENTIRE athletic department for the whole year! And, there's always a chance for something like 1958. Go Vols! SAVol

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TT, did Dupree eat some minnows like last time?

99gator writes:


to be truthful, as if you could not tell, i really don't care about the tenn defense.

bottom line, barring injury, florida is going to score points on anybody. period. it's just a matter of how much or how easily. i'm not crazy. florida will not put up 59.

but, they will score. and they will score touchdowns as they are very, very, very good in the red zone. only a rash of turnovers (something they did not do last season) would prevent them from putting up a serious amount of points.....against most anybody.

i only mentioned the thing about the defensive line of tenn because most people have been saying it's the weakness of the defense. well, unless somebody has a strong defensive line against florida. points are coming.

so, under that assumption.....tenn will have to score.....a lot. well, when is the last time tenn put up a whole bunch of points against florida?

thus, my prediction (which is meaningless). i did not go out on a huge limb here. florida will be favored.

99gator writes:


i'm not basing my assumptions either about the tenn offense on how long it took meyer to get it running at florida. look at most any school and any system.

and as invisiblekid and i have discussed, i am not ready to buy into dave clawson until i see it. i know how popular he is in knoxville, because tenn went outside the volunteer tree on that hire....but, he was at richmond. that ought to cause some pause.....especially when tenn goes on the road. he may be outstanding. but, i would not assume a coach that has never been involved in a d-1 game is ready to whip up on people in the SEC.

99gator writes:

also, if the new tennessee system is not all that different....then, what's all the fuss about. everyone is in love with clawson and not much will be different. that doesn't make sense.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:


I don't think anyone believes that it won't be different. Of course it will be different. It was different under R. Sanders vs. D. Cutcliff (granted, not much). Fulmer likes the pro set offense, but there are lots of possibilities with that style. And no matter what anyone says, it is still the style that most championship teams run. I do believe LSU won the NC last year with a more or less traditional pro style O. The differences that Clawson (may) bring to the table are (1) new ideas...Even traditional offenses can shake things up (2) faith in playmakers...Cutcliff only seemed to have faith in his QB (3) New game and clock management styles. We'll see, but a new guy will usually have his own way of managing the game on gameday.

And the most important thing, I believe, is how Clawson handles his players. He's younger, can identify with the kids, probably has more energy and zeal which trickles down. It's the little things like that which make the difference when all things (talentwise) are more or less equal.

GoVol writes:

If FL comes to Neyland ranked #1 I will guarantee a TN victory.

This game will not be about talent, but simply about who wants it the most. FL will be complacent and TN will be hungry.

TN may not have a great season, but they will beat FL if FL comes in ranked #1. Throw all of the stats out the window on this day...the VOLS will prevail.

auttat writes:

Good article on Mayo being a rookie in New England. He seems to be getting a lot of praise.

It's ok KNS. Shouldn't expect you all to run much of anything positive on former players. But we will continue to look forward to the always rewarding, "What does Saban think of this?"

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