Northwestern agreed to a massive deal to host a Mountain West team in 2017
Northwestern filled its 2017 non-conference schedule with a Mountain West opponent. That’s not exactly news that will make you think twice.
How about this instead: Northwestern agreed to bring Nevada to Evanston in 2017, and will pay $1.2 million to do so.
That’s the number reported by the Reno-Gazette Journal, which said that its the second-highest game check Nevada ever received. The only one richer than Northwestern’s came from Texas A&M, which paid Nevada $1.5 million in 2015. Nevada is also receiving $1 million to play Notre Dame this upcoming season.
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Why was the contract so rich? Perhaps Northwestern was eager to fill it’s 2017 non-conference schedule, which it did by setting up this matchup. The Wildcats were the last B1G team to fill their 2017 slate.
With the new nine-game conference schedule, Northwestern already had its Power Five opponent requirement satisfied by Duke. Besides Nevada wouldn’t even count toward that.
So why would Northwestern go from paying directional schools $500,000 to more than doubling that price? Well, the move catches the Wildcats up with some of the prices paid by other B1G teams. Wisconsin is also paying Florida Atlantic $1.2 million to come to Madison in 2017 while Michigan paid Miami (Ohio) $1.1 million in 2014.
Still, it’s a high number to play a non-Power Five team that’s been to a bowl game 10 of the last 11 years.
In 2015, Bret Bielema’s Arkansas squad was handed a home loss by a Toledo team it paid $1 million to come to Fayetteville. Northwestern will look to avoid similar shame when the Wolf Pack invades Evanston next year.