LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska is paying Arkansas State $1 million for playing at Memorial Stadium on Saturday — the highest amount ever guaranteed to an opponent for a game in Lincoln.
Athletic director Tom Osborne said Thursday in an email to The Associated Press that the price is the "going rate" for many teams to play an away game with no return engagement.
"We believe that Arkansas State is a decent program and will provide an attractive non-conference matchup," Osborne said. "We probably could have gotten a lesser opponent for less money but are trying to maintain a reasonably strong schedule."
Nebraska paid Southern Mississippi $300,000 for the Sept. 1 opener, but the Huskers will play an away game against the Golden Eagles next year. Idaho State, a Football Championship Subdivision program, will earn $600,000 for visiting next week.
Last year, Ohio State paid Colorado $1.4 million and Alabama wrote Kent State a check for $1.2 million. Florida Atlantic is getting $1 million each for games at Georgia and Alabama this week and next.
The previous high guarantee paid by Nebraska was $800,000, to Western Kentucky and Idaho in 2010, and to San Jose State in 2008. Arkansas State was paid $750,000 for playing at Nebraska in 2009.
With the playoff system beginning in 2014, Osborne said, teams with national-championship hopes will be willing to pay big money for games that can build their schedule strength.