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Kentucky officials confirmed reports that the Cats’ trip to Eastern Michigan scheduled for 2019 won’t be happening after all.
Eagles officials approached UK about buying out the game, hoping to offset some costs in their own athletics program.
Kentucky has bought out the second game of a multi-game contract and will move the game from Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium to Kroger Field. The date of the game — Sept. 7 — did not change.
UK called the new contract a “win-win for both parties.” Under the new contract, Kentucky will pay $800,000 for the game next season in Lexington and $350,000 for the game in 2020.
The move adds a rare eighth home game for the Cats next season, which means more money coming into the athletics program.
“We are thrilled to be hosting an eighth home game next season,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement.
“Eastern Michigan approached us about moving our football game with them next season and we were happy to accommodate. It’s win-win for both parties, with us getting to play at Kroger Field and Eastern Michigan securing funds that will be helpful to their department.”
The Cats barely slid past the Eagles last September, winning 24-20. Kentucky led by as many as 10 points early in the fourth quarter before allowing a late drive that pulled Eastern Michigan within four points with 2:34 to play.
That game cost UK $1.2 million, per the initial contract. Eastern Michigan was supposed to pay UK $1.2 million to play the game in Ypsilanti and then UK would pay an equal amount for the 2020 game on Sept. 5.