The Michigan State Spartans recently rounded out their 2021 football schedule, with non-conference opponents including Youngstown State, Miami (FL.) and Western Kentucky. Details on one of these agreements have come out, and according to MLIve, MSU will be paying the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers a ridiculous $1.5 million for the matchup on Oct. 2, 2021 at Spartan Stadium.
MLive was able to obtain the signed contract via the Freedom of Information Act, and also reported that the contract was signed on April 16 by Michigan State interim athletic director Bill Beekman and by Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart on April 18.
There is also a $1.5 million cancellation fee for either school, as well as a mutual consent void option.
Western Kentucky and Michigan State have never met on the gridiron. WKU is currently coached by Mike Sanford Jr., and plays in Conference USA, competing in the East Division. The Hilltoppers have made four straight bowl appearances, though that streak could have very well been at six years, but the team was somehow not chosen for a bowl game in 2013 after an 8-4 season, following their 2012 Little Caesars Bowl appearance.
The MLive piece also states that the Hilltoppers will receive 500 complimentary tickets to Spartan Stadium for the game, with the option to purchase 3,000 more.
It is common practice in the NCAA for larger programs to pay smaller schools to travel to their stadium and play a game because both schools know the likely outcome. The larger school assumes an easy victory (unless of course you’re 2007 Michigan playing against Appalachian State...too soon?) so it is willing to pay hefty fees, but the price of these games continues to go up.