Jen Smith on UK Football

A look inside Kentucky’s 2017 guarantee game agreements

Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson, drenched with Gatorade shook hands with Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops after the Kentucky season opening football game at Commonwealth Stadium in 2016. UK heads to Hattiesburg to open next season.
Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson, drenched with Gatorade shook hands with Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops after the Kentucky season opening football game at Commonwealth Stadium in 2016. UK heads to Hattiesburg to open next season. palcala@herald-leader.com

▪  Eastern Kentucky: When the Colonels come to Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 9 as part of a one-game deal signed in January, they will earn a flat fee of $500,000, which is $50,000 more than they were paid for last season’s game. EKU will receive 350 complimentary tickets (50 more than last time) and be given 2,000 tickets to sell (2,000 fewer than it got in the first deal). The contract says Eastern has until Aug. 15 to return any unsold tickets.

▪  Eastern Michigan: Per Southeastern Conference guidelines, Kentucky cannot release terms of this contract until the league schedule is finalized, but reports from the Eastern Michigan side say it’s a three-game deal for games in 2017, 2019 and 2020. Mapped out in two contracts, the first game is a guarantee game to be played at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 30, 2017. The second contract creates a home-and-home with the Eagles in Ypsilanti at Rynearson Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019 and EMU’s return trip is slated for Sept. 5, 2020. Other intricacies of the deal have not been made available.

▪  Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles are a little too familiar to Kentucky fans after coming back from 25 points down two weeks ago to knock off UK 44-35 at Commonwealth Stadium. For that feat, Southern Miss earned $200,000. Per the home-and-home series contract (signed after UK’s initial opponent Alabama Birmingham dropped football briefly, nullifying the one-game, $800,000 deal with the Blazers), UK will travel to Hattiesburg on Sept. 2, 2017 for a game there. The Cats will be the first SEC foe outside of the state of Mississippi to play the Golden Eagles at their home. UK will not pay anything for that game.

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