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Iowa football: Top nonconference payout drops by $175,000 from 2011

[ 1 ] May 2, 2012 |

Iowa football is in a financial recession of sorts — for now — and that’s a good thing if you’re keeper of the athletic department budget.

Recently received documents by the Des Moines Register through a state open-records law request show the Hawkeyes’ top non-conference football game payout this season will be $875,000 to Central Michigan for its Sept. 22 game at Kinnick Stadium.

That’s $175,000 less than last season’s school-record payout of $1.05 million to Louisiana-Monroe. It’s $25,000 less than Iowa’s pre-2011 school record of $900,000 to Arkansas State in 2009.

“We are always concerned about containing costs in every area of the department, but the market and what puts us in the best position to be successful dictate the guarantees we pay in football,” Iowa associate athletic director Mark Abbott said.

Besides the Central Michigan paycheck, Iowa will pay Northern Iowa $500,000 for a Sept. 15 game, and Iowa State 20 percent of the gate receipts after state sales tax has been deducted when the Cyclones come to Iowa City on Sept. 8.

Iowa State received a check from Iowa for $551,813.20 after its 2010 game at Kinnick Stadium.

This is the final year that the host team in the Hawkeye-Cyclone series owes the visiting team 20 percent of the after-tax gate receipts. It’s been that way since 2008, but from 2013 to when the current contract expires in 2017, the host team will keep all profits.

Three of those in-state rivalry games games will be played at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, and two at Kinnick Stadium.

And this season, Iowa will be the grateful receiver, rather than the non-conference provider, for a change. The Hawkeyes will be paid to play the Sept. 1 season-opener against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. Both schools will receive $1 million from SMG Management Group.

Nationally, the average payout for a non-conference football game in 2008 was just more than $330,000, according to a Des Moines Register survey of college football’s top-tier schools.

“Of course, we think guarantees are way too high,” Abbott said.

Iowa will bank between $1.6 million and $2.1 million per non-conference home game, according to figures furnished by the athletic department.

Therefore, total 2012 Hawkeye non-conference profit, including the $1 million for the Northern Illinois game, will be between $5.8 million and $7.3 million for three home and one neutral site game.

It would have been significantly lower if Iowa had a $1 million non-conference opponent on the schedule.

“Will we pay another $1 million guarantee in the future?” Abbott asked. “I would think it’s possible, but the market will determine what direction guarantees go.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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