TCU to pay $500K in buyouts to play Minnesota
South Dakota State athletics say they expect to play TCU in 2015
TCU’s athletic department will spend $500,000 and take over a single-game contract with South Dakota State to play a home-and-home football series with the University of Minnesota, according to Minnesota’s associate athletic director.
Chris Werle, associate athletic director for strategic communications of Minnesota athletics, said Minnesota will receive $500,000 from TCU to play in Fort Worth in 2014.
He also said Minnesota will not pay TCU when the Horned Frogs play in Minneapolis on Sept. 3, 2015. Instead, TCU will take over Minnesota’s contract with South Dakota State, which was originally slated for the Sept. 3 date.
South Dakota State will either play TCU in 2015 as a non-conference matchup or will receive a $400,000 payout, Jason Hove, sports information director of South Dakota State, said.
Hove said the university is preparing to play TCU in 2015, but negotiations are still not final.
TCU sports information director Mark Cohen declined to comment on negotiations between the universities, referring to TCU’s status as a private institution.
Phone calls to TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte were not returned.
More into negotiations
TCU and Minnesota have personal connections between the two universities’ athletic departments, which played a part in the negotiations, Werle said.
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague had familiarity with Del Conte, who, according to interviews, had a previous business relationship with Teague and Minnesota assistant athletic director David Benedict.
Additionally, Minnesota head coach and fellow Kansas native Jerry Kill has a strong relationship with Gary Patterson. Kill served as best man at Patterson’s wedding.
Although the personal connections played a role in negotiations, Werle said finances and a convenience of scheduling played the largest role.
Minnesota had an open spot in its 2014 schedule after the university canceled a series with North Carolina at a cost of $800,000. TCU had an open spot in 2014 after changing a home-and-home series with LSU to a one-off game at Cowboys Stadium in 2013.
TCU originally had a game against Arkansas set in the year 2015, but the game was moved back to 2016. TCU will play a second game against Arkansas in 2017.
As of May 10, the TCU series will serve as Minnesota’s only BCS non-conference matchups until 2017.
According to reports from the Minnesota Daily, Kill was concerned about playing BCS opponents in non-conference play and advocated to cancel the North Carolina series, due to the youth and rebuilding process of his team.
Teague said in an interview with ESPN Twin Cities Radio that the decision for canceling the North Carolina series was good for the program, but that the university wanted stronger teams for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.