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Jacksonville State ready to cash in with Michigan State
JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville State football program locked down the biggest one-game payday in school history when it completed a signed contract to play Michigan State in 2014.
The Gamecocks will make $600,000 for the early season game. The contract was signed last week.
“It is big to get them on the schedule,” JSU athletics director Oval Jaynes said. “Think about that. That’s huge.”
A check of that size certainly will put a dent in the note on the Paul Snow Stadium expansion.
The Gamecocks have never played a team from the Big Ten before in football. Their most recent foray outside the Southeast for a guarantee game came in 2003 at Kansas.
The Gamecocks play at Ole Miss next season, at Florida in 2012 and at Auburn in 2013, although that contract has yet to be signed. The Florida and Auburn games are said to be fetching $500,000 each.
“Supposedly it’s in the mail,” JSU president Bill Meehan said of the Auburn contract. “It’s coming and I think it will.”
The Gamecocks are still looking for a guarantee game in 2011 to fill the void created by Kansas State’s pulling out of an agreement to play.
“We’ve got some possibilities, we just haven’t finalized anything yet,” Jaynes said.
He declined to identify any of the prospects.
Now that Michigan State is secured, the Gamecocks can start looking for a lesser-profile second guarantee game for 2014 and 2013 — years Football Championship Subdivision teams can play 12 games because of the calendar.
The Ohio Valley Conference as a body has long espoused playing a 12-game season, but its desire isn’t widely shared within the subdivision.
Meehan said a renewal with Troy is “somewhere within that time frame,” but wasn’t certain of a date.
“I look forward to playing them again, I think we will,” Meehan said. “That’s great, a great rivalry — all the way from athletics to the band.”